PETRON BLAZE GAINS SHARE OF 2ND
PETRON Blaze made sure Barangay Ginebra’s projected calm would come after a horrific storm .
The Boosters went on full throttle during the two middle quarters, enough for them to fashion a cruising 105-90 win Sunday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Renaldo Balkman gamely provided the spark Petron needed in winding up with 34 points and 10 rebounds while completely outshining Ginebra counterpart Herbert Hill.
June Mar Fajardo, Jay Washington and Arwind Santos chipped in their ample share for the Boosters as they racked up a second straight lopsided win after losing their conference opener against GlobalPort.
“We talked about consistency because that was our main problem in the last conference. We were up and down the last conference,” said Petron coach Olsen Racela.
“For this game I told them, ‘Let’s just be consistent.’ I want them to come out with intensity and energy for every game. That’s our main focus right now, to be consistent with our efforts, especially on defense.”
The loss was the third straight for Ginebra and its worst so far following a four-point defeat to Air21 and a nine-point setback to GlobalPort last Friday.
The worst, hopefully, is over for the Kings.
Vernon Macklin, a 6-10 second round draftee by the Detroit Pistons in the 2011 NBA draft, is set to arrive Monday morning.
The 26-year-old will be replacing Hill, who wound up with 16 points and 11 rebounds in an otherwise forgettable stint for the perennial crowd favorites.
With Hill riding the bench for the entire fourth quarter, the Ginebra locals tried to breathe life to the team but they only partly succeeded in trimming what stood as a 23-point deficit to just 13 twice, the last at 84-97.
Each time, Petron rose to the occasion in following up a 98-73 victory over defending champion San Mig Coffee last Wednesday. The 0-2 Mixers are also trying to wipe out their woes by finally having last year’s Best Import awardee Denzel Bowles back in lieu of Matt Rogers.
Racela, meanwhile, can’t help but be pleased with his team’s efforts, but quickly pointed out it’s too early to tell if his team is really on its way to putting behind it a seventh place finish in the season-opening Philippine Cup.
“There’s still a long way to go,” said Racela. “it’s a process. We’re getting there, but it’s still a process for this team. Kumpiyansa ngayon with wins, pero once you go through adversity doon mo makikita kung gaano kabuo ang team.”
Fajardo even outscored Hill with 18 on top of seven rebounds with Washington adding 14 points and Santos 11.
Mark Caguioa scored 24 points to lead Ginebra with LA Tenorio adding 19 and newly-married Rico Maierhofer 10. Caguioa had 13 of his points in the fourth period and Maierhofer six but the Kings simply dug itself too deep a hole in the early goings, no little thanks to Balkman.
Balkman scattered 17 points in the third quarter, including four rim-rattling dunks, that helped stretch Petron’s lead to 23 twice, the last at 86-63, off a buzzer-beating triple by Joseph Yeo.
It was also Balkman who sparked the Boosters’ charge from a 41-42 deficit, scoring five points and hooking up with Alex Cabagnot and Santos during a 10-0 run that staked them to a 51-44 spread.
In that stretch, Ginebra went 0-for-4 from the field and committed four turnovers, going to the halftime break down by just seven following an electrifying dunk by Chris Ellis.(NC)
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.