MANILA, Philippines - Debuting Petron import Will McDonald blew his top, in the process blowing the Boosters’ bid against Barako Bull, 94-80, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.
McDonald lost his temper on a rugged defense by Mick Pennisi, whose personal milestone in the game was felt less by the Energy than his rugged defense on Petron’s import that led to his being thrown out of the contest.
McDonald grappled with Pennisi underneath and lost his cool after a rebound play and slammed the ball on Pennisi, who deliberately collapsed to add comic relief to the play.
“We’re surprised and we’re lucky with what happened. It would have been a different story had he (McDonald) been around to finish the game,” said Barako coach Junel Baculi on the incident involving McDonald and Pennisi.
McDonald was ejected just 14 minutes into the game.
The Energy took advantage of McDonald’s banishment, padding a 32-22 lead to a 52-28 bulge on a triple by Rodney White with 1:38 left in the first half.
White finished with a huge double-double game with 41 points and 22 rebounds as the Energy completed a rout of the Boosters and, in the process, tied the Alaska Milk Aces at fifth place at 4-4.
Petron slid further down the leader board at eighth with a 3-5 card. The Boosters need to win their last game against the Talk n Text Tropang Texters to have a shot at a playoff for the last quarters seat.
“After languishing in ninth and eighth places, we’re now in fifth. We’re almost there (the playoffs),” said Baculi. “It’s unlike the last conference where we started strong then went kaput. A little bit of luck and we may enter the quarterfinals.”
Pennisi, Willie Miller and Ronald Tubid provided the needed support to their import as they made two triples each and wound up with a combined total output of 37 points.
Pennisi, a 12-year veteran, became only the eighth player to have logged 700 career triples. Allan Caidic leads the all-time ranking with 1,242 followed by Ronnie Magsanoc with 1,171 and Al Solis with 1,000.
The Barako behemoth proved to be a giant factor in the game for earning the ire of McDonald on his pesky defense.
He elicited laughter from everybody in the venue on his delayed “funny flop” on McDonald’s action.
Rain or Shine stayed alive with a second straight win, stalling B-Meg, 101-95, in the nightcap.
“We’re trying hard to prolong our conference, and I think we played our best game in the tourney tonight,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
Still down on the floor, Pennisi himself laughed seeing himself on the slo-mo replays on the Big Dome giant TV screen.
“I think I’m going into acting when my career is over,” said Pennisi.
McDonald, who took over from Nick Fazekas fresh from the Chinese league, got to play only 13 minutes, logging seven points, five rebounds and one steal against three turnovers.
But even when McDonald was there, the Energy set the pace, taking the opening quarter at 30-20. - By Nelson Beltran