GlobalPort 85 – NLEX 82
The GlobalPort Batang Pier finally made it into the win column on Wednesday night by beating the NLEX Road Warriors, 85-82.
Malcolm White put up 23 points and 16 rebounds, while also adding six blocks. Stanley Pringle chipped in with 15 points.
The victory was a bittersweet one however, as the team lost one of its assistant coaches, Senen Duenas, on Wednesday morning due to a cardiac arrest. Duenas was in Delos Santos hospital, recovering from an operation he had last Sunday. The death of Duenas shocked the team as they had even planned on visiting him after their game against NLEX.
“Very emotional on our team kasi they really worked hard for this,” assistant coach Eric Gonzales said after the game. “Two days ago, I saw in their eyes talagang they were pushing each other. Ayaw nila matalo sa game na to. And then may mga nangyari. Yung nangyari kay coach Senen. Very close talaga samin lahat.”
The victory by GlobalPort was their first in the conference after dropping their first four games.
“We dedicated this game to Coach Senen pero tayong team mismo lubog na lubog na tayo,” Gonzales stressed to his team. As much as GlobalPort wanted to win the game for their beloved coach, they also wanted to prove to themselves that they can finally break their losing skid.
“Pinaalala ko sa players… Ilang games… Alaska [Aces] tinambakan kami, sumunod yung Star [Hotshots] we were there in the middle of the third then we blew up. Nandun na rin kami pero bumibitaw kami,” Gonzales went on, sitting in for head coach Franz Pumaren who didn’t feel well.
On Wednesday, GlobalPort didn’t falter and they didn’t let their lead dissipate. Inspired and determined, they pressed on. They even pushed through even when star guard Terrence Romeo was forced to go back into the locker room late in the fourth quarter.
“Sabi ko huwag kayo na f-frustrate. Kahit anong mangyari wala namang perfect game eh. Importante yung perfect ang yung effort natin lagi,” said Gonzales.
GlobalPort only shot 36 percent and was even out-rebounded by the Road Warriors, 63-50, but they executed well enough down the stretch.
GlobalPort is now 1-4 in the standings and their first victory of the conference means a lot more as they dedicate it to their late mentor.
“Naniniwala kami sa team na to. We just need to help each other out,” Gonzales shared. “At the end of the day, si God talaga nagbigay satin nito. Ib-bless talga tayo if we keep pushing hard.”