It may have come a little late but Barako Bull still managed to give active coaching consultant Rajko Toroman a fitting birthday gift Sunday night.
After wiping out a 10-point deficit late in the fourth period, the Energy Cola pounced on the GlobalPort Batang Pier in overtime, leading to a stunning 98-88 victory to take the early lead in the PBA Commissioners Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Coming off an equally dramatic 79-75 win over defending champion San Mig Coffee last Friday, Barako Bull completed its rise from the depths in regulation, thanks to Mark Macapagal’s game-tying triple that tied it at 86-apiece with nine-tenths of a second left.
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Far from done, the Energy Cola asserted its dominance in the extra five-minute period, with Danny Seigle racking up five straight in their 12-2 wind-up that left the Batang Pier taken aback.
Import Evan Brock led all scorers with 25 points plus 18 rebounds while playmaker Josh Urbiztondo tallied 24 points, highlighted by six triples, along with four assists for the undermanned Barako Bull, which also got 18 big points from new recruit Jonas Villanueva.
“It’s great to win the game where we showed character,” stated the Serbian Toroman, who celebrated his 57th birthday. “It’s a great win for us and we are 2-0.”
High-leaping Japeth Aguilar continued his impressive form with 23 points and 10 rebounds while guard Sol Mercado finished with 19 points and a game-high 16 assists but those went for naught as GlobalPort failed to gain a fitting follow-up to its 94-92 win over powerhouse Petron two days ago.
Batang Pier import Justin Williams came up with 27 rebounds on top of 12 points but didn't see action in the waning stages due to an apparent leg injury.
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Gary David, who finished with 19 points, put the Batang Pier comfortably ahead 86-76 off a daring lay-up but the Energy Cola methodically fought their way back and pulled within three of an Urbiztondo trey with 43.9 seconds left.
GlobalPort had several chances to seal the victory but fell into a maze of turnovers, capped by David’s passing error against the trapping defense of Brock and Urbiztondo.
Although Urbiztondo failed to knock down the tying triple, the Energy Cola gained another crack as GlobalPort’s Mark Yee stepped on the baseline after hauling down the leather with 4.2 ticks left.That enabled Toroman to set up the play for Macapagal, the league's reigning three-point champion. Finding enough room at the right flank, Macapagal faked off Williams and dribbled to his left then uncorked the cold-blooded trey that tied the game.
"We were really waiting for Macapagal's shot the whole game," said Barako Bull coach Bong Ramos. "It came at the right time."
Seigle then squeezed what’s left in his 36-year-old legs in overtime, coming up with back-to-back charities followed by a booming triple that put Barako Bull ahead 91-86.
"Danny is looking good," Toroman noted. "I said to Danny, 'I have no doubt about your skills.'"
Mercado cut it to three off a lay-up but the Energy Cola wielded a seven-to-nothing finishing kick, capped by Brock’s completed alley-oop lay-in off a Villanueva dish with 32.8 seconds to go.
“We just with it and play defense. We showed a lot of character and this team definitely has the heart,” beamed Urbiztondo.
BARAKO BULL (98) - Brock 25, Urbiztondo 24, Villanueva 18, Seigle 16, Maliksi 9, Macapagal 6, Kramer 0, Pennisi 0, Allado 0.
GLOBALPORT (88) - Aguilar 23, Mercado 19, David 19, Williams 12, Miller 7, Yee 5, Salvador 3, Deutchman 0, Juntilla 0.
Quarterscores: 21-19, 35-38, 60-58, 86-86, 98-88
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