GLOBALPORT finally snapped out of its punk and has Stanley Pringle to thank the most.
Winning coach Pido Jarencio said his charges made a conscious effort to avoid the mistakes they made in earlier losses to NLEX and Barangay Ginebra.
Kelly Nabong and Sean Anthony also did their part, but it was Pringle who shone the most as the Batang Pier beat the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 78-70, Friday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Pringle finished with a game-high 29 points and added nine rebounds for good measure while providing either or both the spark and sustaining fire GlobalPort needed in its bid to end a seven-game losing streak dating back to the last Governors Cup.
Nabong also played a key role with 12 points and 13 rebounds for his third straight double-double while Anthony scored only three points but pulled down 13 boards and issued 12 feeds.
With Bradwyn Guinto, Jonathan Grey and Julian Sargent chipping in, the Batang Pier now have a 1-2 record to show in the season-opening tournament, tying them with their victim, Meralco and Alaska.
"Players talaga wanted it today. Talagang gusto nilang manalo," said Jarencio. "Siguro lessons learned din in our last two games."
What Jarencio is most proud of is how his team forced Rain or Shine into going 25-for-86 from the field as well as committing 21 turnovers.
"We hit our target, which was 80 or below," said Jarencio. "For now kasi worst team kami in terms of points allowed... 109 per game."
Gabe Norwood's 15 points were enough to pace the E-Painters, who fell behind early, caught up and even led briefly, but could not match the Batang Pier's stronger finishing kick like in an 87-92 loss to Blackwater last Dec. 29.
Mark Boroboran and the returning Maverick Ahanmisi also finished in double figures but sorely missed by Rain or Shine were the injured Chris Tiu and Jericho Cruz as they could have helped break down GlobalPort's defense while contributing on offense.
As it is, the Batang Pier hardly missed the services of top offensive weapon Terrence Romeo, still to fully recover from his own injury. Not with their defense kicking into place for most of the game.
Offense was not really a problem as Pringle showed. He scored 20 right in the first half, went scoreless despite four tries in the third period but scattered the last seven of his nine fourth quarter points after Rain or Shine came to within 61-63.
Guinto and Grey also scored in the endgame, ensuring GlobalPort's head remained above water inside the last three minutes.
"At least ngayon we finished stronger," said Jarencio. "Hindi p'wedeng pang-third quarter lang kami or 45 minutes lang. Ngayon 48 minutes of good basketball." (NC)
GLOBALPORT 78 - Pringle 29, Nabong 12, Guinto 10, Grey 8, Sargent 8, Gabayni 4, Anthony 3, Flores 2, Elorde 2, Arana 0, Juico 0, Taha 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 70 - Norwood 15, Borboran 13, Ahanmisi 10, Belga 8, Nambatac 6, Yap 5, Ponferada 3, Daquioag 3, Trollano 3, Almazan 2, Maiquez 2,
Quarters: 19-18, 41-35, 58-56, 78-70.