GlobalPort blows out TNT


MANILA — The GlobalPort Batang Pier pounced on the weary TNT KaTropa Texters playing their third game in a week to score a resounding 99-84 victory in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday night.

GlobalPort thus improved to a 4-4 win-loss record, boosting in playoff chances. TNT suffered a third straight loss and sixth overall in 10 games, moving on the brink of elimination as it fell into solo ninth place in the standings. Before Wednesday’s game, the Texters had lost to San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra.

The GlobalPort victory allowed the top three teams in the conference – San Miguel (6-2), Alaska (6-3), and Magnolia (6-3) – to officially clinch playoff spots.

Seldom-used Nico Elorde led the Batang Pier with a career-high 17 points, along with seven assists, seven rebounds, and one steal in 27 minutes.

Stanley Pringle added 16 points, 10 boards, four assists, and three steals in 36 minutes.

Four more Batang Pier scored in double digits with Bradwyn Guinto tallying 12 points, Yousef Taha with 11, and Jonathan Grey and Kelly Nabong adding 10 markers apiece.

GlobalPort pulled away as early as the first quarter and led by as many as 30 points in the third quarter. The Texters tried hard to come back but poor shooting and a slew of turnovers cost them the game.

Jayson Castro led TNT with 24 points while Kelly Williams added 21 points in the losing effort.

TNT’ faces resurgent NLEX (5-4) in its last elimination round game on Feb. 28. A loss could send the Texters to an early exit in the tournament.

Meralco 92, Phoenix 90

The Meralco Bolts survived a ferocious comeback bid by the Phoenix Fuel Masters to eke out a 92-90 victory on Wednesday night.

It was only the third win for Meralco in nine games but was enough to keep alive the Bolts’ flickering playoff hopes. To be able to do so, Meralco has to win its last two games against Ginebra this Sunday and Magnolia on Feb. 24. As it is, Meralco remained at second to last place, one rung higher than Kia.

The Bolts showed grim determination to pull out the win, racing to an early 16-point lead. But they had to weather a furious charge by the Fuel Masters in the endgame before securing the win that ended a three-game losing streak.

With the loss, Phoenix slid to solo eighth in the standings with 4-5 win-loss card.

Garvo Lanete led the Bolts with 24 points, including four three-pointers. Cliff Hodge finished with 17 markers, three rebounds, and three assists before limping off the court with a knee injury after a collision with Phoenix’s Willy Wilson late in the third quarter. The injury further crippled a Meralco squad that had already lost Ranidel de Ocampo and Jared Dillinger to injuries.

Lanete’s last basket gave Meralco a 92-85 lead with 1:34 left. But the Fuel Masters drilled five free throws to come to within two points. Jeff Chan had a chance to steal the game from Meralco but his potential game-winning triple in the closing seconds clanked out as the Bolts heaved a sigh of relief.

Wilson led Phoenix with 24 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and one steal in 32 minutes off the bench.

Matthew Wright added 16 points but missed all his shots in the fourth quarter before fouling out.

Games Friday: Blackwater Elite (3-5) vs. Kia Picanto (1-7) and GlobalPort Batang Pier (3-4) vs. Magnolia Hotshots (6-3).