The Barako Bull Energy continued their impressive run, winning their fourth straight game by nipping the B-Meg Llamados, 87-84, in overtime in another exciting PBA Philippine Cup out-of-town game.
The Energy and the Llamados treated the capacity crowd at the Panabo Multi-Purpose Cultural, Tourism and Sports Center Panabo City, Davao Del Norte to a close game that went down the wire, with James Yap burying a booming triple with 1.8 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. But the Llamados committed costly turnovers and missed three crucial free throws in the extra period to allow Barako Bull to escape with the win.
The Energy got off to a slow start, falling behind by 14 at the end of the first period. But behind Willie Miller and the comebacking Danny Seigle, they slowly fought their way back into the game, and by the end of the third they were already up by four.
The fourth period was close all throughout, with no team leading by more than four points. With 7.5 seconds left and the Energy leading by one, 77-76, rookie Dylan Ababou sank two free throws to give his team a three-point lead. After the Llamados sued for time to set up their last play, Yap received the ball and dribbled towards the top of the three-point circle, losing his man Ababou off a good pick. Seigle, back in action after sitting out the last three games with an injury, switched over to challenge, but Big Game James calmly buried a three off the dribble. Willie Miller's desperation three at the buzzer was off, sending the game into overtime.
In the extra period, the Llamados missed three straight free throws that could have shifted the momentum to their side. Still, it was all tied up at 84 with 1:30 left after a basket by PJ Simon. Wynne Arboleda then hit a tough turnaround jumper to beat the shot clock and give the Energy a two-point lead. B-Meg would have several chances to tie it up again, but Kerby Raymundo threw the ball away on the next possession, and, after an Ababou miss, Simon forced his shot against Mick Pennisi and came up empty-handed.
Jondan Salvador gave the Llamados yet another lease on life by bungling two free throws with 8.8 seconds left, but Raymundo turned the ball over again when his pass intended for Yap was easily picked off by Salvador with 1.2 seconds left. The back-up big man was quickly fouled, and this time split his free throws to keep it a one-possession game. But there would be no second buzzer-beating three for Yap, whose last-second shot this time was too strong.
The Energy now share top spot with Talk N Text and Rain or Shine with four wins and one loss in what has been a surprising start. They haven't lost since dropping their opening match to Petron Blaze on October 7, even as they have had to cope with numerous injuries. After getting Seigle back, the team is now without Leo Najorda and rookie Allein Maliksi.
The Llamados, on the other hand, now sport a 2-4 record as they continue to struggle for consistency and have yet to win two games in a row.
Barako Bull (87) — Miller 18, Ababou 15, Seigle 15, Pennisi 8, Arboleda 7, Pena 6, Salvacion 6, Salvador 5, Artadi 5, Allado 2, Avenido 0.
B-Meg (84) — J. Yap 20, Raymundo 15, R. Yap 12, Simon 11, Barroca 9, Devance 9, Pingris 5, Urbiztondo 3.
Quarterscores: 11-25, 37-39, 62-58, 79-79, 87-84