GlobalPort ousts Alaska
AFTER winning out in a classic encounter for the right to bring up the tail of the playoff field, GlobalPort is bracing for a series against what its coach said is the best team in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Terrence Romeo drained a tough triple with 8.1 seconds remaining that helped key the Batang Pier’s 107-106 nipping of Alaska at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday night for the last quarterfinal slot as GlobalPort gears up for the series of its life against top-ranked Barangay Ginebra.
“We surprised a lot of people,” GlobalPort coach Franz Pumaren said after the gripping win that saw the best of Terrence Romeo at the clutch. “No one imagined us to be in this situation.”
Justin Harper finished with 32 points and Romeo capped a 26-point night with that dagger triple over Kevin Racal’s pressure defense for 106-104, a sequence of greatness that Pumaren later said typified how thick-faced Romeo is.
“You have to give credit to the guy (Romeo), he was willing to take that shot. In short, makapal talaga ang mukha nya,” Pumaren said in jest of Romeo, who made three of his six triples inside the last five minutes.
“It takes a great player willing to take that shot.”
Alaska blew a 14-point first quarter lead and suffered some terrible breaks in the endgame, counting a non-call on Stanley Pringle, who clearly nudged Calvin Abueva out of position for what could have been the game-tying short stab after the Romeo triple.
Corey Jefferson fired 32 points and had 16 rebounds in Alaska’s eighth straight loss, which ruined Abueva’s career-high 31-point night. Abueva also had 13 rebounds.
“Ginebra is really peaking at the right time,” Pumaren said of his opponent at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, the first of two games the Batang Pier need to win to march on to the Final Four. “It will be a tough series for us, we’re playing the best team (in the conference) that’s on a streak.”
“Hopefully, we can match up well against them.”
The loss meant that Alaska will be missing the playoffs for the first time under Alex Compton’s watch that dates back to the last eight conferences where the Aces finished runner-up four times.
This will also mark the first time that Alaska failed to make it past the eliminations in the last 14 conferences.
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