KING JAMES STANDS TALLEST FOR GIANTS
Purefoods debuts with come-from-behind win over SLR in a highly physical match
Wednesday, 17 October 2007
Purefoods Tender Juicy stood its ground versus Sta. Lucia Realty in a virtual wrestling duel, scoring a 96-89 win to start its campaign in the 2007 Smart PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum Wednesday night.
The Giants gave some and took some along the way as they went roaring in the fourth quarter, pulling off a come-from-behind victory in the extra-rugged contest marred by no less than nine technical fouls – the most in a game in at least the last two seasons -- and two player ejections.
Hard fouls came aplenty with Purefoods’ Peter June Simon and Sta. Lucia’s Norman Gonzales thrown out for flagrant infractions.
"My battle cry in every timeout was that talo ang pikon sa laban na ito. Obviously, mas napikon ang Sta. Lucia dahil noong huli mas marami silang second motion," said Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio.
"Madali ang away dito. But the officials want this kind of officiating and I’m fully supporting it. We just have to adjust with it," added Gregorio, noting a big difference on how the refs call the game from before to the present. "The difference is heaven and earth."
James Yap had a taste of this kind of officiating with the RP team in the Jones Cup but himself blew his top in a collision with Gonzales.
"First time kung napikon sa laro. Pero sino ang hindi, kung babanatan ka," said Yap.
"Yung pinakamabait kong player na si June Simon first time ma-thrown out," Gregorio offered.
The Giants, the preseason tournament champion and Philippine Cup titlist two seasons ago, toughened up in the fourth quarter, overcoming a 77-66 deficit at the start of the period.
Sta. Lucia coach Boyet Fernandez rued his team backed down from the fight in the fourth quarter.
Trailing by as many as 16, the Giants opened the payoff period with a swashbuckling 18-4 run to surge ahead to stay at 84-80.
The Realtors, who got tremendous boost from their new recruits, took control for most of the first three periods, sitting on a 52-47 cushion at halftime.
But the Giants never shied away from the highly physical battle, going to their veterans as they stemmed the tide in their favor in the fourth quarter.
The two teams engaged in a nip-and-tuck duel in the opening period with Yap, the 2006 MVP winner, scoring 17 points – the most by any player in a quarter since Mike Hrabak made the same output in the first quarter of Red Bull’s 111-112 loss to Talk ‘N text in Game Five of their Fiesta Conference semifinals showdown last June 29.
Yap ended the 2006-07 season with back-to-back 40-point games against Welcoat and Coca-Cola.
Marc Pingris and Roger Yap came alive in the payoff period and finished with a combined production of 30 points and 14 rebounds. Kerby Raymundo wound up with 13 rebounds and nine points.
Kelly Williams, the 2007 Rookie of the Year, had 19 points and six rebounds for the Realtors who drew significant numbers from new recruits Christian Coronel, Joseph Yeo, Dennis Daa and Ryan Reyes.
Yeo finished with 11 points but had a crucial trey miss with Realtors down by only three at 89-92 with 30 seconds to go. (NC)
Purefoods 96 –
Yap J. 29, Yap R. 16, Pingris 14, Simon 9, Raymundo 9, Salvador 8, Adducul 4, Lanete 3, Sanz 2, Larong 2, Evangelista 0.
Sta. Lucia 89 –
Williams 19, Coronel 12, Yeo 11, Espino 11, Mendoza 11, Daa 8, Reyes 8, Omolon 6, Gonzales 3, Miranda 0, Aquino 0.
31-29, 47-52, 66-76, 96-89