After dishing out a triple-double in his team’s last game, Rodney White displayed some of his scoring ability this time around.
The NBA veteran White finished with 41 points and 22 in powering the Barako Bull Energy to a 94-80 triumph over the Petron Blaze Boosters on Wednesday’s crucial encounter in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
The Barako Bull import led his team to a second straight win and put them into contention for one of the seats in the quarterfinal round.
The Energy improved their record to 4-4, tied for fifth to sixth places with idle Alaska Aces.
“We’re tied for fifth, unlike last conference, where No. 8 or 9 kami,” said Barako Bull coach Junel Baculi. “With a little bit of luck, we can enter quarterfinals, but Ginebra is very tough. We need to bring out all the things that we know in basketball to beat them.”
Debuting Petron Blaze import Will McDonald had a nightmarish stint in his first game in the PBA. He played in only 13 minutes and finished with seven points. He was ejected from the game after hitting Mick Pennisi on the head with the ball.
McDonald, a Spanish League veteran, was tossed with more than eight minutes remaining in the second period and Barako Bull took advantage of his absence, erecting a 20-point halftime lead, 52-32.
“Nagulat kami sa ginawa ng import – surprised and lucky that he was thrown out, but give credit to the players, they played well in the first quarter. But I told them that they’re a champion team and you cannot joke around against a champion team unless you become a champion team yourself,” added Baculi.
Willie Miller contributed 16 markers while Pennisi added 11 points.
The 6-foot-9 Pennisi also achieved a milestone earlier when he became the latest member of the 700 three-pointers club.
Pennisi, who became the eighth member of the exclusive group, joined Allan Caidic (1,242), Ronnie Magsanoc (1,171), Al Solis (1,000), Jimmy Alapag (949), Dondon Hontiveros (833), Ren-Ren Ritualo (729), and Willie Miller (711) as the only players who have made at least 700 three-pointers in the league.
Barako Bull (94) – White 41, Miller 16, Pennisi 11, Tubid 10, Allado 7, Arboleda 3, Weinstein 2, Aquino 2, Seigle 2, Najorda 0, Pena 0.
Petron Blaze (80) – Cabagnot 17, Santos 13, Yeo 11, Guevarra 9, McDonald 7, Miranda 7, Ildefonso 7, Reyes 5, Baclao 2, Rizada 2, Al-Hussaini 0, Lanete 0, Tugade 0.
Quarterscores: 30-20; 52-32; 74-52; 94-80.