GlobalPort fends off Alaska in overtime
THE GLOBALPORT Batang Pier prevailed in a battle between two teams desperately seeking a playoff berth as they edged out the Alaska Aces, 91-88, in an overtime thriller last night in the 39th PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
With their fifth win in 13 games, the Batang Pier earned at least a playoff for a quarterfinal seat while pushing the Aces to the brink of elimination.
The Aces absorbed their third straight defeat to drop to 4-9 (win-loss). Alaska can only earn a playoff for a quarterfinal slot if it wins its last assignment against the Barako Bull Energy Colas and GlobalPort loses its remaining game versus the Barangay Ginebra Kings.
GlobalPort drew an inspired game big man Kelly Nabong, who finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds to fill the void vacated by the injured Jay Washington. Alaska also played without controversial rookie Calvin Abueva, who sat it out with a sprained ankle he sustained in a practice.
Nabong converted a lay-up that helped GlobalPort force overtime and also hit two free throws in the final 1.4 seconds of the extension period to seal the win.
Sol Mercado foiled Alaska’s bid of forging a second overtime by stealing Tony Dela Cruz’s inbound pass to Dondon Hontiveros as time expired.
GlobalPort had withstood Alaska’s furious rally in the second half. The Batang Pier built a 48-36 lead in the third period but the Aces came roaring back to move within 54-55. The winning squad weathered the storm, ending the third with 13-1 run to post a 68-55 edge going into the final period.
Alaska staged another big run in the fourth that saw them overtaking GlobalPort, 78-77, with 1:18 left. /EDITORIAL ASSISTANT CALVIN D. CORDOVA