PETRON Blaze, energized by the explosive game of import Renaldo Balkman, overwhelmed Barako Bull, 91-78, yesterday and kept second place with its fifth straight win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The high-flying forward scattered 33 points on top of 14 rebounds, four steals and four blocks for the Boosters, who put away the Energy early with a 20-5 charge in the second quarter.
And the Energy hardly missed three main cogs. Point guard Alex Cabagnot missed his third consecutive game for Petron with a twisted ankle, wing defender Chris Lutz remained in sick bay with fractured ribs while Danny Ildefonso recently went under the knife to repair a broken shoulder.
“I might be the smallest import but I have a stout heart,” said Balkman, the smallest import at 6-foot-6 who scored 17 points in the first half alone.
In the second game, Rain or Shine found a way to squeeze another win without its import after pulling off a 96-93 squeaker over Barangay Ginebra.
Beau Belga played the role of Bruno Sundov, knocking down four free throws in the decisive moments and finished with a team-high 18 points and nine rebounds.
The Elasto Painters registered their fourth straight victory after dropping their conference-opener against the Alaska Aces.
With Balkman anchoring Petron’s defense, the Boosters limited the Energy to 11 points in the second quarter for a 45-27 bubble.
The Boosters’ lead grew to 25 in the third period before the Energy moved within 76-64 on Mark Macapagal’s free throws with barely four minutes remaining.
Balkman then completed a three-point play and Ronald Tubid knocked down a three and added a free throw as the Boosters, who boosted their record to 5-1 behind unbeaten leader Alaska, roared to an 83-66 lead.
Tubid’s three with 2:47 left allowed the 6-foot-2 forward to become the 66th member of the 5,000-point club. He also became the ninth player to achieve the feat for the San Miguel franchise.
PETRON 91—Balkman 33, Santos 14, Fajardo 10, Tubid 10, Lassiter 6, Miranda 4, Pena 4, Lanete 3, Yeo 3, Washington 3, Sison 1, Faundo 0.
BARAKO 78—Brock 20, Seigle 17, Anthony 12, Maliksi 9, Urbiztondo 6, Macapagal 5, Allado 5, Villanueva 4, Weinstein 0, Kramer 0, Intal 0.
Quarters: 21-16, 45-27, 68-47, 91-78
RAIN OR SHINE 96—Belga 18, Cruz 13, Sundov 12, Ibanes 12, Lee 11, Arana 11, Quinahan 7, Norwood 5, Tiu 3, Matias 2, Tang 2, Rodriguez 0.
GINEBRA 93—Macklin 27, Caguioa 18, Raymundo 18, Tenorio 17, Baracael 7, Mamaril 3, Espiritu 2, Hatfield 1, Taha 0, Ellis 0, Labagala 0, Maierhofer 0, Helterbrand 0.
Quarters: 27-23, 51-43, 70-68, 96-93