Jay R. Gotera
MANILA – Playing another monster game, LeRoy Hickerson sizzled for 38 points to lead the Barako Bull Energy to a 109-100 victory against the hapless Air21 Express Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in the 2012 PBA Governors’ Cup.
The explosive new import also tallied eight rebounds and eight assists in a game wherein the Barako Bull led from start to finish.
In his first outing with the Energy last Friday, Hickerson drilled 32 points to lead his team to a stunning111-107 upset of the defending champions Petron Blaze Boosters.
The Energy thus scored their second straight win and their third in five games, boosting their playoff chances as they tied the idle Barangay Ginebra Kings and Powerade Tigers at third to fifth place in the standings.
Hickerson also had plenty of support from his teammates. Mick Pennisi chipped in 14 points while Doug Kramer had another double-double game of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Leo Najorda and Celino Cruz added nine points each for Barako Bull while Willie Miller and Don Allado had eight points each.
Air21 suffered its third straight loss and fourth in five games as it stayed at the bottom of the 10-team pack.
Import Zach Graham played another herculean game for the Express tallying 41 points but to no avail as he once again failed to get enough support Air 21’s local players.
Interestingly, Barako Bull coach Junel Baculi was not very pleased with the way his wards played despite the win. “I got mad in the dugout in the second half because we were outrebounded. We’re taller than them, so we should be the one dominating the rebounds. We’re still being outrebounded by our opponents, so I guess we’re just lucky we were able to win two straight games,” said Baculi after the game.
Air 21 outrebounded Barako Bull, 58-51.
Baculi said his team faces a “tough grind” in its next three matches.