Photo by Mark Cristino
MANILA, Philippines – In its third season in the PBA, the Globalport Batang Pier finally earned themselves an advantageous position in the quarterfinals.
The young franchise clinched a twice-to-beat advantage Tuesday night, June 23 after overcoming top-seeded Alaska in overtime to end their 2015 Governors’ Cup eliminations campaign.
At fourth seed, Globalport will take on dangerous defending champions Star Hotshots on Friday, June 26, where they hope to finish things off in one game and advance to the semifinals for the first time in franchise history.
“Masaya kasi history na naman. Sana magtuloy-tuloy na kami hanggang semis (I’m happy because this is history once again. I hope we go all the way to the semis),” said primary guard Terrence Romeo, whose overtime heroics pushed the team over the hump.
Before Romeo took over, rookie Stanley Pringle as well as imports Jarrid Famous and Omar Krayem carried the load. They look to ride the overwhelming sense of accomplishment, and relief, to hopefully make even more history for the team.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Famous, who finished with 34 points, 26 rebounds and 3 assists against Alaska. “When I came here the organization said they’ve never been to the semifinals, they wanna get there and they felt I was the guy that could help them do it.”
The Batang Pier qualified for the quarterfinals 3 other times in the last 8 conferences. Many times they’ve failed to meet their potential despite having leaders like Alex Cabagnot and Sol Mercado on board.
Experience, execution and breaks of the game weighed down Globalport as they lost games they could have won.
“It feels good that I helped them and they believed in me and they saw what I could bring to the table and I was able to get them there,” said Famous, who knows their conference is far from over. “We still got a long way to go but it’s a great feeling to be top 4.”
In just his first year in the league, 2014 first overall pick Pringle has committed himself to turning Globalport into a legitimate contender.
“It means a lot. It was one of the things I wanted to do when they drafted me,” he said after posting a near triple-double of 24 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists and two steals on Tuesday. “I told myself I was gonna do everything it takes to win because they were last place in every conference last year. And I was like, that’s not gonna happen this year.”
The Batang Pier have constantly been victims of being on the wrong end of a twice-to-beat. Now, they’re the ones with some leverage. And they have no plans of wasting it.
“Twice-to-beat advantage is great, but at the end of the day, you have to go out there and play basketball,” Famous said.
He also explained the possible consequence the Batang Pier may face despite having the edge.
“That doesn't mean that we're gonna win. I don't want us to go lackadaisical thinking we have the twice-to-beat and we're gonna win,” he said.
“It doesn't work that way. We have to execute, play hard, and do the little things. We have to focus, play strong, and act like we're the team that don't have the twice-to-beat advantage.” – Rappler.com