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Garcia sizzles in OT as Star trounces GlobalPort in thriller


By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--The lights at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night were shut out... literally and figuratively.

The power interruption that put to hold the PBA Governors' Cup match between Star and GlobalPort for 20 minutes hardly mattered in dampening RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo's scoring showdown.

In the end, however, Garcia outdueled his fellow ex-King Tamaraw in a match that nearly took three hours.

Garcia went on fire in the overtime session as the Hotshots subdued the Batang Pier, 105-102.

The game started 4:35 p.m. and was expected to be done by around 6:35 p.m., but just as the fourth quarter began, or at 6:07 p.m. in real time, a blackout due to stormy weather happened.

The power was restored a little before 6:30 p.m., and so did the game which began to shape up as a cliffhanger.

Star was holding on to an 87-85 lead with 2:37 remaining in regulation, but a free throw by Romeo and a dunk by new acquisition Mike Glover put GlobalPort up, 88-87, with 1:36 on the clock.

Both teams turned the ball over in their next offensives, and Stanley Pringle ended the helter-skelter sequence with two charities that gave the Batang Pier a 90-87 cushion with 32.4 seconds remaining in the fourth period.

PJ Simon, however, scored a three-pointer against Pringle's outstretched arms and tied the game, 90-all, with 16.7 seconds left on the clock.

Glover got two points back from the charity stripe off an Alex Mallari foul with 14.7 seconds remaining, but Garcia equalized with a teardrop with 3.7 seconds left.

Romeo had a chance to steal the win for GlobalPort, but he lost control of the ball midair while taking a triple at the buzzer, effectively sending the game to overtime.

He made up for the endgame blunder by drawing first blood in the free basketball session via a triple.

But Garcia took over for Star from there, scoring all but two of the team's eight points in a 2:27 span to help them take a 100-99 lead with exactly two minutes left.

Joseph Yeo gave the lead back to the Batang Pier after getting the ball off a jumpball situation and flipped the teardrop in with 1:36 left.

They had a chance to pull away after they forced a Marc Pingris turnover, but Glover could only make a split from the line and Pingris bounced back with the equalizer with 47.5 seconds left.

Simon then stole the ball from Glover in the next play, and Garcia got a deliberate foul from Pringle while going for a drive with 8.4 seconds left. Garcia made both his free throws to give the Hotshots a 104-102 lead.

Mark Barroca, however, missed out on sealing the win as he only made one of two freebies with 7.8 seconds, giving GlobalPort a chance to force double overtime.

But Yeo badly missed a three-ball from way outside at the final horn to finally let Star take the win.

Garcia fired 26 points, eight in the overtime period, alongside four rebounds for the Hotshots, who finally notched a victory in the season-ending tournament after back-to-back upset losses.

Marqus added a 20-20 game, having 24 points and 22 rebounds, while accomplishing a good all-around performance with six assists, one block, and five steals and bouncing back from a cold start.

Romeo had 27 points, six rebounds, and six assists for the Batang Pier but faded just when he was needed the most.

Glover, who replaced Dominique Sutton as import, also had 27 points in his debut along with 12 rebounds, five assists, and one block.

Box Scores:

Star 105-Garcia 26, Blakely 24, Simon 15, Barroca 11, Pingris 8, Maliksi 7, Sangalang 6, Mallari 4, Pascual 2, Reavis 2, Yap 0

GlobalPort 102-Glover 27, Romeo 27, Pringle 20, Yeo 11, Taha 10, Semerad 3, Dehesa 2, Kramer 2, Mamaril 0

Quarterscores: 19-22, 42-44, 71-71, 92-92, 105-102

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno