PENNISI STANDS TALLEST
MICK Pennisi can strike you when you least expect it.
The veteran center-forward stressed this with an abrupt, albeit timely, explosion that acted as a big boost for Barako Bull last Sunday to earn for himself the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week honors for the period March 25 to 31.
Pennisi’s 19 points and seven rebounds helped spell the difference in the Energy Cola’s 105-100 repeat victory over defending champion San Mig Coffee.
It marked only the fourth time in the mid-season conference that the 38-year-old wound up in double figures but this one is made extra special by the fact the win snapped Barako out of a six-game slide and kept it in the hunt for a spot in the Commissioner’s Cup playoffs.
None is happier for the 6-foot-9 grizzled campaigner than Energy Cola active consultant Rajko Toroman. “Mick is a European-type of a player, tall who can shoot the ball from the outside,” he said.
“At the start of the conference he was not playing very well. But lately his game has picked up and that is good for he is a big part of our team, our system,” added the Serbian.
Pennisi showed that to the hilt against a team they beat, 79-75, the first time they met Feb. 8. That was the time San Mig played minus an import and last Sunday the Mixers were led by Denzel Bowles.
It hardly mattered as Pennisi went 7-for-8 from the field, including 5-for-6 from beyond the arc.
What makes the performance stand out more is the fact Pennisi scored all his points and hauled down six of his seven rebounds in the second half.
Pennisi’s two triples started stirring Barako to life from a 60-70 deficit and his 13 fourth quarter points all came during a 19-3 surge that staked the Energy Cola to an 87-78 spread, a lead they would later stretch to 13 and hold on to until the end.
It was only the fourth win in 11 games overall for Barako and although it stayed at ninth spot it now only lies just a game behind the eighth and last spot for the ensuing quarterfinals.
With three more games left in their elimination round campaign Toroman believes their goal of making it to the playoffs is a very realizable one. “We’ll take it one game at a time,” he said. “One more win and we could close in.”
For sure, Pennisi would be an integral part of that drive.
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