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GlobalPort clinches breakthrough semis berth with OT win over Ginebra

By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--Two nights after a Christmas miracle by Ginebra, the team had to go another overtime game in the second round of the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs.

GlobalPort, however, got the better of this Sunday knockout match.

The Batang Pier moved on to the semifinals after a hard-fought 84-83 quarterfinal win against the Gin Kings at the Mall of Asia Arena.

However, a bizarre ending marred what was otherwise a classic encounter.

The pressure defense of Ginebra on Stanley Pringle near the half-court line forced him to hold to the ball for quite some time before finally dishing the pass.

However, the team thought the referees missed out a five-second ball hugging violation and just let GlobalPort milk the last eight seconds of overtime to escape with the do-or-die win, the franchise's first victory in the said scenario after ten games.

The now controversial finish overshadowed what had been another show from Pringle and Terrence Romeo and the heroics from Billy Mamaril.

With the rest of the team struggling in scoring, Romeo and Pringle joined forces in leading the Batang Pier to a 69-64 with 4:59 left in the fourth quarter.

But an 8-0 blast by the Gin Kings powered by back-to-back threes from L.A. Tenorio gave them a 72-69 edge with 2:38 remaining.

A field goal from Joseph Yeo and a key defensive stop by his teammates set up a wild finish in regulation spiced up by crucial misses from the free throw line.

Greg Slaughter settled for a split from the charity stripe with 24 seconds left to put Ginebra up by two, 73-71, but Pringle failed to force the deadlock when he also missed one of his two freebies with 14.6 seconds left.

Tenorio also muffed a clutch free throw with 11.1 seconds to go in regulation, and the Gin Kings had to hold on to a 74-72 edge.

But Mamaril delivered the goods for the Batang Pier as he scored the game-tying basket with 4.1 seconds left in the fourth and blocked Tenorio's potential game-winning triple at the buzzer to force the free basketball session.

Romeo and Pringle then started the extension with respective baskets to open a 79-74 GlobalPort lead.

Slaughter then made two free throws on the other end only to be overhauled by a Jay Washington triple a little later in overtime.

Tenorio then knocked down his own three-pointer to push Ginebra to within three, 79-82, with 1:38 remaining.

The team later forced a jumpball and got the possession after the tipoff, leading to a split from Japeth Aguilar at the free throw line that cut the lead to two, 82-80, with 1:15 to go.

Pringle gave the Batang Pier some breathing room with a field goal that gave them an 84-80 cushion.

Aguilar continued to struggle from the line as he only scored one of two charities in the next Ginebra play but bounced back after making an undergoal stab off a timeout after stopping GlobalPort in its offensive, drawing his team to within one only to see the opposition run out the remaining eight seconds of the match in awkward fashion.

Pringle finished with 25 points, while Romeo added 23 for the Batang Pier, who will take on the Alaska Aces in what would be their first semifinal appearance in club history next month.

Slaughter had 25 points, 18 rebounds, and two blocks for the Gin Kings, who could put the game under protest but will have to submit a protest letter on or before 12 p.m. of Monday should they decide to push through with the appeal.

Box Scores:

GlobalPort 84-Pringle 25, Romeo 23, Washington 13, Yeo 11, Mamaril 4, Kramer 3, Semerad 3, Jensen 2, Maierhofer 0, Pena 0, Sumang 0

Ginebra 83-Slaughter 25, Tenorio 18, Devance 12, Caguioa 9, Mercado 9, Aguilar 6, Cruz 4, Ellis 0, Marcelo 0, Thompson 0

Quarterscores: 18-16, 33-32, 53-53, 74-74, 84-83

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno