Henry Sims isn’t the same high-energy guy Petron Blaze once had but he can still deliver the goods.
Sims scored 23 points on top of 13 rebounds and Alex Cabagnot added 20 as Petron dumped Barako Bull, 88-77, to clinch a quarterfinal spot in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup last night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Boosters bounced back from a forgettable outing that saw Meralco import Eric Dawson score a season-high 57 points as the Bolts won, 102-92, in Sims’ debut.
“It’s unfair for him to play back-to-back games right after he arrived. I know he will soon be comfortable and more involved in the scheme of things,” said Petron coach Olsen Racela. “Henry could get back his legs in time.”
Vernon Macklin dropped in a layup with 7.9 seconds left and gave Barangay Ginebra a thrilling 91-90 win over Meralco in the second game.
Dawson tried to save the night for the Bolts on the other end but his runner bounced high off the rim, allowing the Gin Kings to chalk up the longest win streak of the conference at six games.
“I told them that winning six straight games is not impossible. I don’t think the law of averages will catch up on us. It’s not in our character,” said Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua.
Macklin finished with 31 points and 12 boards while Mac Baracael pumped in 10 of his 17 points for the Kings, who moved up with seven victories in 12 outings in a tie with the Boosters.
The Bolts, who got 27 points and 14 rebounds from Dawson this time, fell to 6-6.
A low-post workhorse and stolid defender in the NBA Developmental League, Sims started to loosen up by forcing former LA Laker center DJ Mbenga out of his comfort zone.
“He’s definitely not (Renaldo) Balkman. But Sims is bigger and can give us a different dimension,” said Racela after the Boosters registered their seventh victory in 12 games.
The 6-foot-6 Balkman was banned from the league for his unsportsmanlike outburst against his teammates.
“I have to admit that it’s hard to replace Balkman’s energy. But we don’t want to dwell on the past,” added Racela.
PETRON BLAZE 88—Sims 23, Cabagnot 20, Lassiter 14, Santos 11, Fajardo 6, Lutz 6, Miranda 6, Washington 2, Sison 0, Faundo 0, Lanete 0, Pena 0.
BARAKO BULL 77—Mbenga 14, Maliksi 13, Anthony 11, Pennisi 11, Monfort 8, Seigle 8, Urbiztondo 5, Macapagal 3, Duncil 2, Intal 2, Kramer 0.
Quarters: 22-17, 40-38, 67-55, 88-77
GINEBRA 91—Macklin 31, Baracael 17, Tenorio 17, Labagala 10, Hatfield 10, Ellis 4, Jensen 2, Espiritu 0, Maierhofer 0, Mamaril 0, Helterbrand 0, Raymundo 0.
MERALCO 90—Dawson 27, Buenafe 19, Ross 11, Cardona 10, Salvacion 9, Hugnatan 6, Hodge 4, Timberlake 4, Vanlandingham 0, Reyes 0.
Quarters: 18-24, 44-43, 71-64, 91-90