Grey’s ‘lucky shot’ saves GlobalPort from elimination
Pido Jarencio is an honest man.
“That was a lucky shot,” Jarencio said in Filipino with a hearty smile moments after Jonathan Grey knocked down the game-winning triple from deep right corner that gave GlobalPort a 114-113 triumph over No. 1 ranked Rain or Shine on Tuesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum that took their quarterfinal series in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup to a deciding game.
“I really thought that we wouldn’t be having practice anymore (on Wednesday),” the jovial coach said. “I honestly didn’t think that we could win this game, especially after trailing big (early in the fourth period). But it was God’s will that we won and make this a do-or-die (series).”
Jarencio bared that he asked Grey during practice on Monday for two things: “Play defense and give me offense,” Jarencio said of what he told his left-handed sophomore.
“The way he played (both ends) today, and with that (game-winning) shot, he will surely be a part of the rotation (in the next game).”
GlobalPort can become just the fourth No. 8 ranked team to topple No. 1 with a win on Thursday, and the Elasto Painters will try to avoid the ignominy of losing a twice-to-beat advantage for the second time in their history. As the seventh seed in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup, Rain or Shine lost Vernon Macklin and the No. 7 Barangay Ginebra Kings two straight games to bow out.
Rain or Shine, which qualified with top seeding after closing out eliminations with a 9-2 card, had an 89-73 lead near the end of the third period only for its offense to sour. It also didn’t help that Maverick Ahanmisi missed three straight free throws inside the final minute.
The rubber match is set Thursday at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, and Jarencio is excited at the prospect of playing in the Final Four for the first time in three years.
“Who knows what can happen there,” he asked. “The good thing about this team is that it just keeps on playing, even when we are down big like today. My players really deserve this win, they worked very hard for it.”
Import Malcolm White led the Batang Pier with 24 points that went with 15 rebounds and two blocks, the last of which came in the dying seconds when he smothered counterpart’s Reggie Johnson’s point blank attempt.
That was actually one of three tries that the Painters had in turning the result around, with Gabe Norwood missing a triple that set up Johnson for that follow-up attempt, and the third was Ahanmisi missing another trey at the buzzer, which got Jarencio jumping up and down in jubilation on the other end of the floor.
The winner of this series will advance opposite either Barangay Ginebra or Meralco in a best-of-five semifinal series, which the Gin Kings could reach as early as Wednesday afternoon when they clash with the Bolts in Game 2 set at 4:30 p.m. also at the Big Dome.
Defending champion San Miguel Beer also goes for the clincher in its separate best-of-three series with TNT KaTropa in the 7 p.m. contest, with the Beermen seeking a followup of an impressive 121-110 come-from-behind victory in their series opener on Monday.
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