Mahindra for real; GlobalPort on the go
MAHINDRA showed it’s for real even as GlobalPort sustained its run from the cellar with a third straight first class upset win in the PBA Governors’ Cup last week.
The surprise of the tournament with a 4-0 start, the Enforcers finally underscored their worth by pinning a first loss on their erstwhile co-leaders, TNT KaTropa, 107-104.
With hard-working import James White getting solid help from the locals, the Enforcers secured a quarterfinal berth as they broke out of a three-way tie for second with a 6-2 win-loss slate.
White came up with another all-around performance of 24 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Paolo Taha contributed 15 points, KG Canaleta added 13, LA Revilla had 12 and Mike DiGregorio 11.
Jason Castro continued to enhance his reputation as Asia’s top guard with 33 points but TNT suffered a severe power shortage. After exploding for 30 points in his last outing, Asian import Mike Madanly could only score two. Gilas mainstays Ranidel de Ocampo and Ryan Reyes combined for just 12.
But the loss did little to affect TNT’s stature as top pick for the title with its 6-1 card.
Meanwhile GlobalPort, after languishing at the bottom at 0-4 while TNT and Mahindra shared top spot at 4-0, continued its unexpected surge by nipping Rain or Shine, 101-99, in Legazpi City Saturday.
Terrence Romeo scattered 33 points but it was Jay Washington who rescued the Batang Pier by following up his own miss to beat the shot clock after receiving a perfect inbound pass.
A free throw by Yousef Taha completed the scoring for GlobalPort, which had earlier conquered defending champion San Miguel Beer after a double overtime breakthrough win over Meralco.
GlobalPort tied Rain or Shine and idle Phoenix at 3-4 with NLEX dropping to No. 8 at 3-5 in a tie with Alaska, followed by Star (1-5) and Blackwater (1-7).
Alaska launched its final push for a quarterfinal slot last night against Blackwater, winning 107-87. The Aces’ next three outings are against GlobalPort, Phoenix and NLEX.
But Star is a prime candidate to join the last four teams that will go on vacation after the single round eliminations. Granting the Hotshots prevail over Ginebra last night, they still have to face Phoenix, Meralco, TNT and Rain or Shine.
As it is, Ginebra (5-2), SMB (5-2) and Meralco have solid shots at the two other premium quarterfinal slots behind TNT and Mahindra.
Meanwhile, SMB will parade a temporary replacement for the injured AZ Reid when the Beermen tangle with the Meralco Bolts this Wednesday. The new import is Mike Singletary, who played for the defunct Barako Bull in the PBA in 2013 and recently joined the Mighty Sports team that captured the Jones Cup in Taipei.
Also reportedly set to be replaced is ROS import Dior Lowhorn, who bungled a layup under pressure that would have sent the game in overtime against Batang Pier Saturday. Gregory Smith was set to arrive yesterday.
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