Boosting the Boosters

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Friday, February 1, 2013


RENALDO Balkman displayed his NBA experience as he led the Petron Blaze Boosters to a lopsided 94-68 victory over the M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala-Cebu Niños in the penultimate day of the 2013 Sinulog Cup Basketball tournament at the Cebu Coliseum last night.

Today, Barangay Ginebra Kings will play the Cebu Niños at 5 p.m., while Petron and Alaska will duke it out in the 7 p.m. game.
The Boosters-Aces game tonight will determine who is the best team in this 3-day tournament.

Balkman, who played for the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets, is expected to bring salvation to the Boosters in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup. Yesterday, he proved to be unstoppable as he delivered 23 points, most of them scored on the crippling third quarter, where a Petron rally rendered the Niños hapless.

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M. Lhuillier was in control of the first 12 minutes of the game, leading 24-22, and was heading strong in the second quarter.
However, Petron’s size and height slowly got into motion and the Niños suddenly crumbled into pieces.

The nightmare came for MLKP in the third quarter, when the Boosters dropped a searing 25-12 blitz that put them ahead 72-54. After that, the fourth quarter became insignificant for both squads. Petron’s coach Olsen Racela decided to rest Balkman, Arwind Santos and Junemar Fajardo, while coach Yayoy Alcoseba scrambled to find a working combination that could at least cut down the lead but it proved non-existent.

The other Boosters who scored in double digits were Alex Cabagnot who made 14; Fajardo, who had 11; and Dorian Peña, who had 10 points. Benoit Mbala topscored for MLKP with 17 points and Abbey Santos finished with 12.

Petron’s victory came at the heels of its 90-83 win over sister team Baranggay Ginebra Gin Kings Thursday evening.
Balkman scored 28 points, Santos made 15 and Cabagnot finished with 12 while Kerby Raymundo, Mark Caguioa, Chris Ellis and import Herbert Hill scored 12 points each.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 02, 2013.

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