Petron Blaze thrives in the open court, downs Barako BullBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines—Petron Blaze tried to run, and ended up first on the finish line Wednesday night.
Ruling on the open court, the Boosters notched their first victory of the season at the expense of the Barako Bull Energy, 98-89, in the 2012 PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
It was the transition offense that ultimately spelled the difference from their opening game defeat to Rain or Shine, scoring 30 points off fastbreak attempts.
“We had a hard time on our halfcourt sets the last game so we needed to find other ways to score,” said head coach Olsen Racela.
The athletic Chris Lutz led the attack, finishing with 22 points—perfect from the stripe—six assists and a steal, but Alex Cabagnot put the icing on the cake.
Cabagnot lit up from downtown in the fourth period—halting a comeback scare by Barako Bull with a trey, which restored a double-digit advantage with over two minutes left.
Cabagnot stole the leather then set up Arwind Santos for a punctuation of a throwdown in the ensuing play.
Santos scored 18 points and plucked 11 rebounds, then notched three assists and two steals while Cabagnot added 16 markers and 10 rebounds.
The Boosters, though, still managed to botch a commanding 20-point lead after taking it easy toward the start of the payoff period.
“We relaxed in that stretch, we still need to play consistent for 48 minutes,” said Racela, who thought his squad gave too much space for Barako Bull.
The Energy patiently weathered the lead and cut it to just five points, 77-82, on a freethrow by Enrico Villanueva and a gusty floater by rookie Lester Alvarez.
But Barako Bull just didn’t have enough to go on and push Petron Blaze to the limit, succumbing to its first loss in the conference.
Six players from the Energy side chipped in at least 10 markers with Josh Urbiztondo leading the way with 17 markers and seven assists.