CURRENTLY at solo second place in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup, GlobalPort Batang Pier try to go a notch higher and claim a share of the top spot as they take on Blackwater Elite in league action today at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City.
Set for 7 p.m., the Batang Pier (3-1) are out to win back-to-back after tumbling previously while also tying defending champions San Miguel Beermen (4-1) for early leadership in the season-opening Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) tournament.
Leading GlobalPort in the Philippine Cup is All-Star guard Terrence Romeo, who has his guns blazing with an average of 27 points per game to go along with five assists and 1.75 steals.
Backcourt mate Stanley Pringle has all-around numbers of 18.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.8 apg and 1.5 spg while big man transferee JR Quiñahan has infused muscle for 11.5 ppg and 9.3 rpg.
With Gilas standout Romeo having it solid, GlobalPort coach Franz Pumaren could not help but throw praises to his star guard.
“Terrence is a different breed, he’s a very talented player who has expanded his game. He’s slowly evolving into a good all-around player,” Mr. Pumaren said after their last game, a 91-84 win over the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings where Mr. Romeo exploded for 35 points.
Mr. Pumaren also highlighted the steady gains his team has been making.
“We’re slowly maturing. When they’re (Ginebra) making a run, we didn’t panic. We stayed in the system,” he said.
Out to stop GlobalPort and propel its own cause is Blackwater (3-2), which swung back to the winning track in its last game against the NLEX Road Warriors, 96-85.
Achieving the team play they were looking to sustain in the tournament, the Elite successfully wiggled out of the two-game losing skid they were in with six players scoring eight points or more, led by Arthur Dela Cruz with 18 markers and Kyle Pascual, Ronjay Buenafe and James Sena tallying, 16, 13 and 11 points, respectively.
The team also stuck together even when NLEX tried to force its will and take the game away.
“There were situations that players wanted to play on their own [in the losses], not committing to the offensive rules that we have. It’s okay if they could produce positive results on their own but that was not the case. Today we had a semblance of team organization,” said coach Leo Isaac after their win.
Preceding the GlobalPort-Blackwater clash is the opener at 4:15 p.m. between the Meralco Bolts and Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters.
Both teams are angling to go back to the winning column with the Bolts (2-2) losing in their last game while the Fuel Masters (2-3) are in a deeper hole, dropping their last two games.
Meanwhile, Alaska Aces big man Vic Manuel is the latest recipient of the PBA Player of the Week honors for the period of Dec. 12 to 18.
The “Muscle Man” had it solid during the stretch, averaging 16 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks while helping his team to two victories over Meralco and Barangay Ginebra in that order.
In winning the award, Mr. Manuel beat three-time league most valuable player June Mar Fajardo and playmaker Alex Cabagnot of San Miguel, Star Hotshots’ Paul Lee, TNT KaTropa’s Kelly Williams and Blackwater sophomore Mr. Dela Cruz.