by JONAS TERRADO
Magnolia rallied from an early deficit before foiling a late comeback attempt by a GlobalPort team that dealt with a verbal exchange between coach Pido Jarencio and star guard Terrence Romeo for an 86-79 victory Tuesday to book a place in the semifinals of the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Hotshots, who carried a twice-to-beat advantage, fell behind 26-6 at the start but inched their way back behind Ian Sangalang, Mark Barroca, Paul Lee and Marc Pingris to join the defending champion San Miguel Beermen in the semifinals of the all-Filipino tournament.
Barroca had 17 points, Lee registered 14 points and 13 rebounds, Pingris had 13 points and nine rebounds and Sangalang added 11 points and eight rebounds for Magnolia, which will face the winner of the best-of-three quarterfinal series between NLEX and Alaska.
NLEX took Game 1, 105-99, Monday and will go for a sweep Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Stanley Pringle and Romeo were the only GlobalPort players who scored in double figures with 31 and 14 points, respectively, as the Batang Pier failed to protect their gigantic lead.
GlobalPort’s frustration was evident with 3:00 left in the third quarter when Jarencio and Romeo had to be separated after an exchange of words at the bench over a misunderstanding during a defensive play that allowed Barroca to hit an open three that gave Magnolia the lead, 54-53.
Jarencio and Romeo were able to patch up their differences, with the latter eventually returning in the fourth. The Batang Pier, though, fell short of completing a 12-point comeback.
MAGNOLIA 86 – Barroca 17, Lee 14, Pingris 13, Sangalang 11, Melton 7, Simon 7, Ramos 6, Jalalon 5, Brondial 4, Reavis 2, Dela Rosa 0.
GLOBALPORT 79 – Pringle 31, Romeo 14, Grey 9, Sargent 7, Nabong 5, Elorde 4, Taha 3, Teng 3, Gabayni 2, Araña 1, Anthony 0, Guinto 0.
Quarters: 12-26, 34-45, 61-59, 86-79.