Mahindra sustains magical run | Inquirer Sports
Wild Card

Mahindra sustains magical run

WITH rookie Keith Agovida providing clutch plays and fire off the bench, Mahindra continued to look like the real deal when the Enforcers brought down the Alaska Aces, 101-95, recently to keep their share of the lead with the TNT KaTropa in the ongoing PBA Governors’ Cup.

Obtained from Blackwater at the start of the tournament, the former Arellano University mainstay combined with import James White in a sizzling 11-2 finish for Mahindra from 88-93 with barely three minutes remaining.

White delivered the last seven of his 14 points in the final quarter in that decisive stretch while Agovida unloaded four of his career high 11 points while adding an assist that led to a White three-point play after his own steal. White finished with 32.
“Magic bunot (the decisive pick from the bench),” said Mahindra assistant coach Chris Gavina of Agovida, who is best remembered for once firing 82 points in high school play while playing for the Jose Rizal U Light Bombers.


Gavina, fast turning out to be one of the shrewdest new mentors in the league, also continued to draw steady firepower from KG Canaleta and Aldrech Ramos and found an able replacement for his injured point guard LA Revilla in another bench warmer in Mike DiGregorio. Before Alaska, his biggest feat was a 105-103 upset of defending champion San Miguel last July 27.


The Enforcers, who trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half against the Aces, matched the 4-0 slate of the KaTropa—who earlier survived another high-wire act of the NLEX Road Warriors with the same 101-95 score as Mahindra—behind the usual heroics of Jason Castro and the comebacking Troy Rosario.

At his deadliest again in the last quarter, Castro finished with a team-high 23 points while fellow Gilas Pilipinas buddy Rosario came out of sick bay to add 20.

Mahindra’s explosive windup against Alaska more than made up for some uneasy moments their playing coach and world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao endured when he joined the action late in the first quarter.

As if to tell Pacquiao he’s in the wrong basketball league, Alaska’s Calvin Abueva burned him with back-to-back three-point baskets. Pacquiao did launch an attempt to score, missed then retreated to the bench. He finished the rest of the game standing in front of the Mahindra bench, leaving Gavina to coach his boys without his intervention.

With Alaska and NLEX now languishing near the cellar at 1-3 like Star and Phoenix, a mad scramble for victories is seen starting this week. Ginebra and San Miguel share third at 3-1 followed by Rain or Shine (2-1), Meralco (2-2) and Blackwater (1-2). GlobalPort is dead last at 0-4.

A game to watch is the Aug. 12 encounter between Mahindra and Phoenix, which now boasts the fiery Eugene Phelps, holder of the current tournament high of 52 points.

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TAGS: Basketball, mahindra, PBA, PBA Governors' Cup

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