GP 94 – MER 86
The GlobalPort team that took the floor against Meralco wasn’t the same team that played last week. The Batang Pier were parading a new import and several new players that they acquired from a trade. GlobalPort is desperate to break their playoffs dry spell and make it back to the quarterfinals. That’s why they brought in all these new faces to fill in holes in their team.
The Batang Pier took home a big win against the league-leading Bolts. Sean Anthony, Bradwyn Guinto and new import Justin Harper teamed up with Stanley Pringle in the fourth quarter to pull away for the win.
GlobalPort brought in Harper because they needed a more dynamic player to pair with their guards in the two-man game. Their previous imports were inside players who liked to plant themselves in the paint to take up space and eat up possessions there. Harper is a different player.
Against the Bolts, Harper looked comfortable playing outside and popping out for three-point shots. This opened up the lane for the rest of the Batang Pier to attack. He wasn’t just camping out at the three-point line though. He also looked comfortable rolling to the basket after setting a pick for Pringle. Harper scored 30 points, grabbed nine rebounds and hit five three-pointers. He showed his total offensive game and looked good working with the Batang Pier guards.
Anthony was also acquired because of his versatility. The Batang Pier traded away the sturdy JR Quinahan for the more fluid forward. Anthony can switch between forward positions depending on the line-up on the floor. He fits like Lego with this GlobalPort team that likes to play a faster pace.
In the fourth quarter, it was Anthony that helped the Batang Pier increase their lead in the final minutes of the game. He did Sean Anthony things like crash the offensive boards for put-backs, hit shots off broken plays, and set himself up on open spots on the floor. Anthony poured in nine of his 18 points in that crucial fourth quarter run.
Guinto, the other acquisition in the four-team trade, was also effective in the fourth quarter. He provided toughness inside the paint, and was a ready option for Pringle. He played quality minutes off the bench, scoring eight points, grabbing seven rebounds, and blocking one shot.
Even with the contributions of all these players, GlobalPort still leaned on their superstar, Pringle to deliver the win in the end game.
With 40 seconds left in the game, Pringle was isolated near the top of the key against Chris Newsome. Pringle navigated the Harper pick, got free from Newsome momentarily, and drove into the paint. He hesitated near the free throw line where several Meralco players converged on him. Pringle almost lost the ball as he made his way to the basket, but recovered it, and then faked a spin, before pivoting the other way to hit a tough, contested falling layup over Newsome.
That basket was the dagger. It gave the Batang Pier a five-point cushion and they nailed free throws to close out the game.
GlobalPort went all in and gambled to get all these new players onto the team. For one game, that gamble paid off. The Batang Pier will need their gamble to continue to pay off in all of their games if they hope to stay in playoff contention.