Nico Elorde’s crucial basket and critical stops in the waning seconds propelled GlobalPort to a much-needed 98-94 upset victory over San Miguel Beer as it snapped its losing skid in the 2018 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City last night.
With a tied game at 92-all in the final minute, Elorde calmly sank the go-ahead triple with 48.1 ticks left to give the Batang Pier a vital 95-92 edge.
After Renaldo Balkman hit two free throws on the opposite end, San Miguel inched to within one, 94-95, but after a defensive stop, the Beermen turned the ball over in their next two possessions, allowing GlobalPort to finish them off.
Mo Tautuaa’s lay-up off a steal followed by a split from Elorde in the final 20 seconds put GlobalPort to safety and settled the final count.
The win was huge for GlobalPort as it snapped out of its four-game slide to improve to 4-4 and moved to fifth place while breaking San Miguel’s three-game losing streak.
The Beermen fell to 3-4 and slipped in the lower echelon with the defeat.
“Hindi ko alam paano tatalunin itong San Miguel pero ito, tinalo namin,” said GlobalPort coach Pido Jarencio. “This is a blessing for the team since we needed the win going into the playoffs.”
Stanley Pringle came up big, scoring 22 points with eight assists off the bench to help his team, especially in the second half.
GlobalPort triumphed in the clutch minus import Malcolm White, who was ejected with 8:09 left after incurring two technical fouls.
Still, White finished with a double-double with a team-high 25 points and 10 boards.
There was a scary moment for the Beermen as Balkman twisted his left ankle after stepping on the foot of Stanley Pringle following a strong drive with 4:57 remaining in the contest.
After shaking it off, Balkman returned with under two minutes remaining to finish the game for San Miguel.
At the end of the third, San Miguel, which led throughout the first half, carried a 79-71 advantage as its timely runs kept its cushion, despite GlobalPort staying within striking distance.
However, GlobalPort opened the fourth with its own 15-7 surge to equal the game at 86-all after an Elorde floater with 5:14 remaining, putting the game in the balance.
Balkman led all scorers with 33 points on top of 13 rebounds and six assists.
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