2014 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Roundup: April 13, 2014 (The Quarterfinal Push Part 2)

GlobalPort finally nailed a win to close out their conference stint, while the Aces continued to rise int he team standings after beating Ginebra.

Alex Cabagnot and Rob Dozier are all smiles after leading their respective
teams to separate wins last night.

In the curtain-raiser, GlobalPort scrambled to preserve a win over Barako Bull, 98-96. This game reflected how hard it is for a team like GlobalPort to win a game in the PBA. Coach Pido’s wards led by 21 mid-third quarter, carried a sizable 17-point bubble to the final period, had more rebounds and assists than their foes, shot much better from the line, and hot-and-cold shooter Mark Macapagal was red hot from long range. And still, despite all those positives, the Batang Pier nearly blew it. They allowed the Energy Cola, behind the sudden surge of JC Intal, Ronjay Buenafe, and Josh Dollard, to claw back and tie the game at 93 in the waning moments. It was a good thing then that mostly-forgotten Alex Cabagnot rose to the occasion, drilling in a go-ahead three-ball that settled the affair and, more importantly, gave Pido Jarencio his maiden PBA win as head coach.

This game also showed how, in the PBA, what separates top teams from mediocre ones is not really talent but consistency. On paper, Barako Bull is a pretty talented team with a good balance of veterans and young guys, but on the floor, their inconsistency is what kills them. In this game, former MVP Willie Miller and journeyman center Dorian Peña both combined for just 2 points. Miller, for his part, didn’t produce anything positive, but he did turn the ball over three times in 13 minutes. This should serve as a lesson for the newly-approved expansion teams of the PBA (Kia, Blackwater, and NLEX). Talent won’t be enough to win. They will have to consistently play well.

Cabaggie Renaissance?: This is the second straight game Alex Cabagnot came up huge for the Batang Pier. Prior to this match, the former Petron star playmaker was averaging just 7.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game while shooting 17% from beyond the arc. Pretty pedestrian numbers, right? Well, in GlobalPort’s loss to TNT this past Friday and in this particular game, Cabagnot outdid himself. In those two outings, Cabaggie averaged 21.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 2.0 steals while shooting 50% from rainbow country. If he is able to play this well for coach Pido moving forward, then the Batang Pier might just be dark horse contenders next conference.

In the main event, Alaska trounced Ginebra, 83-73. Don’t look now, but it seems like the Alaska Aces are really playing like the defending champs that they are. They have been, arguably, the best defensive team so far in the conference, and they rode that defensive tenacity all the way to this impressive win over crowd favorite Ginebra. Alaska utilized some balanced inside-outside production from import Rob Dozier, JV Casio, and Dondon Hontiveros to get their fifth win in eight outings. Dozier scored 22 points on top of 16 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks to underscore his quiet excellence so far. Casio and Hontiveros, meanwhile, paired up for 4 triples on their way to a combined 23 markers. They also handed out a total of 5 assists, while the Cebuano Hotshot collared 9 boards, too. Coach Luigi Trillo’s wards are now at solo third place and still have an outside shot of clinching second seed and the all-important twice-to-beat advantage in the next round.

With or without import Josh Powell, who reportedly injured his foot in the first half and didn’t return to the floor anymore, the Gin Kings just looked listless out there. They shot just 3/28 from long range and 34% overall from the field while also faring miserably from the stripe, shooting 16/27 (59%). To illustrate, usual reliables LA Tenorio, Chris Ellis, and Mark Caguioa combined for zero makes and 13 misses from beyond the arc. Only the frontline pairing of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar relatively impressed here, combining for 32 points and 17 rebounds. This was offset, however, by their woeful 4/9 performance from the line.

NBA-caliber import: Apparently Ginebra’s Josh Powell IS a legit NBA-caliber player as he will be signed by the Houston Rockets pretty soon to complete their playoff-bound roster. His numbers in the PBA didn’t really reflect this, though, as he put up a total of just 16 points, 20 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks in 2 games. This hurts the Kings, of course, since Powell will be leaving them at such a critical juncture, and, well, it’s not as if Ginebra has been playing at a very high level in the first place. I guess if you’re a Ginebra fan, you’ll be in the right to say, “Congratulations, Josh, and good riddance.”

Game Recaps (by Rey Joble/InterAKTV):


Alex Cabagnot nailed a cold-blooded three-pointer with 10.9 seconds remaining to help GlobalPort hold off Barako Bull, 98-96, on Sunday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The Batang Pier finally gave coach Pido Jarencio his first PBA win after eight straight defeats in the PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup.

But it did not come without suspense as GlobalPort squandered an 21-point third quarter lead before Cabagnot took over in the clutch.

Barako Bull looked dead in the water after trailing, 67-46, midway through the third period. But the squad came roaring back in the final quarter behind Ronjay Buenafe and JC Intal, who scored five straight points to tie the game at 93-all with 59 seconds remaining.

After fruitless possessions on both ends, Cabagnot nailed his go-ahead three-pointer with the time running down.

Barako Bull had a chance to tie the game, but Intal turned from hero to goat after turning the ball over on the inbounds pass. Cabagnot scored two more free throws to seal the deal, before Mick Pennisi nailed a last-second three-pointer to settle the final score.

The defeat snuffed out the playoff hopes of Barako Bull, who finished the elimination round with a 2-7 record.

Cabagnot finished with 14 points, nine assists, and four steals to lead the Batang Pier.

GLO 98 – Brock 27, Macapagal 21, Cabagnot 14, Garcia 12, Nabong 9, Salva 7, Washington 4, Salvador 2, Custodio 2, Matias 0.
BAR 96 – Dollard 22, Intal 16, Pennisi 13, Fortuna 11, Buenafe 11, Lastimosa 7, Marcelo 6, Miranda 4, Najorda 2, Jensen 2, Pena 2, Miller 0.
QS: 29-15, 51-42, 80-63, 98-96

Mark Macapagal waxed hot from outside, hitting 5 treys.

Josh Dollard tries an acrobatic shot in the lane against the Batang Pier.

Evan Brock gets hacked as he goes up strong to the hole.

ALASKA over GINEBRA, 83-73

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel got a piece of good news on Sunday after GlobalPort defeated Barako Bull, which gave the Gin Kings a free ride to the quarterfinals.

But that was just about the only thing that went right for them as they suffered an 83-73 beatdown at the hands of the defending champion Alaska Aces at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The Aces won their fourth straight game to move up to third place in the PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup standings with a 5-3 win-loss record. Alaska, who used stingy defense on their way to winning the tournament last season, have not allowed more than 78 points during that run.

They pounced on a Ginebra team that saw limited minutes from import Josh Powell, who was nursing a foot injury.

“I thought we did a good job in the first half,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo. “Obviously, Powell got injured and couldn’t come back.”

The Aces never led by less than 10 points after taking a 25-15 advantage in the second quarter as their defense suffocated Ginebra.

“We set the tone in the first half, we got the big lead,” said Trillo.

With the win, the Aces kept alive their hope of finishing with the second seed, while assuring themselves of the sixth seed at worst. But Trillo said it’s no cause for celebration just yet.

“The thing to understand is it’s gonna be tougher from here,” he said.

The Gin Kings’ record fell to 3-5, putting them in danger of finishing either seventh or eighth, which would give them twice-to-win disadvantage in the quarterfinal round.

ALA 83 – Dozier 22, Casio 13, Hontiveros 10, Espinas 8, Manuel 8, Baguio 8, Jazul 6, Thoss 4, Reyes 2, Abueva 2, Dela Cruz 0, Buenafe 0.
GIN 73 – Slaughter 20, Aguilar 12, Tenorio 11, Baracael 8, Ellis 6, Caguioa 6, Urbiztondo 5, Reyes 3, Helterbrand 2, Powell 0, Ababou 0.
QS: 19-11, 40-24, 61-44, 83-73

Greg Slaughter tangles with Cyrus Baguio in the paint.
JV Casio unloads his unique jumpshooting form.

Rob Dozier and the Aces are on a roll right now.

Images by Pranz Kaeno Billones/Sports 5.

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