Pringle, Nabong lead GlobalPort to victory over Magnolia


MANILA — Backcourt whiz Stanley Pringle and new recruit Kelly Nabong delivered the key blows as the GlobalPort Batang Pier hacked out a close 83-80 victory over the rebranded Magnolia (formerly Star) Hotshots in a PBA preseason game on Thursday.

Playing without his superstar backcourt partner Terrence Romeo, who’s still recuperating from a knee injury, Pringle drilled six of his team-high 18 points in the fourth period, including his team’s last 3 points, to carry the GlobalPort to victory in its first and last preseason game ahead of the Dec. 17 opening of the 43rd season of the PBA, beginning with the 2018 Philippine Cup. The 30-year-old Fil-Am guard also had 10 assists, five rebounds, and two steals.

Ryan Arana finished with 16 markers, three boards, and two assists for the Batang Pier, which is now being mentored by returning coach Pido Jarencio.

Nabong fired 14 points, including a surprise three-pointer that gave the lead to GlobalPort for good with less than two minutes left. The 6’6” power forward also had six rebounds. Nabong was recently acquired by the Batang Pier after being dumped by the Meralco Bolts following a clash with then Meralco assistant coach Jimmy Alapag during the recent Governors’ Cup championship series against the Barangay Ginebra Kings.

After Nabong drilled the go-ahead three-pointer that gave GlobalPort an 80-77 lead with 1:44 remaining, Jonathan Grey stole the ball leading to a Pringle basket, giving the Batang Pier a five-point lead.

But Magnolia’s Aldrech Ramos nailed a three-pointer that cut the deficit to just two, 82-80 with 13 ticks left. After Pringle split charities, the Hotshots had a chance to tie the game, but Ramos’ three-point attempt fell short as the final buzzer sounded.

Ramos led Magnolia with 15 points on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc along with 5 boards. Ian Sangalang and Mark Barroca added 14 markers apiece.

The Purefoods franchise earlier decided to change its name to Magnolia Hotshots as it seeks to end a three-year title drought. The franchise has a tradition of winning a championship each time it changes its brand name.

The franchise won its first championship after branding itself as the Purefoods Hotdogs. It also won titles when the team changed its name to Coney Island, B-MEG and San Mig Coffee.

Meanwhile, the San Miguel Beermen will begin their defense of their Philippine Cup crown right on opening day on Dec. 17 as they battle the new-look Phoenix Fuel Masters at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Game on Friday, Dec. 8 (PBA preseason): NLEX Road Warriors vs Blackwater Elite.