Urbiztondo sizzles as Barako nips Air 21

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Josh Urbiztondo sizzled for 13 of Barako Bull's last 25 points.

MANILA - The 'Fireball' was at it again Friday.

Josh Urbiztondo sizzled for 13 of Barako Bull's last 25 points to lift it to a 91-86 victory and into a share of second-running spot in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The scrappy playmaker also pulled off three of his four steals and issued one of his five assists in that seven-minute stretch, enabling the Energy Cola to raze a 66-77 deficit.

"Josh didn't play good in the first three quarters, but he was one of the best in the end," said Barako active consultant Rajko Toroman of Urbiztondo.

Evan Brock led the Energy Cola with 23 points and 15 rebounds and JC Intal chipped in 16 points as they notched a second come-from-behind win in three games to improve to a 3-1 slate overall to move alongside idle Petron Blaze.

Michael Dunigan led everybody with 30 points and 19 rebounds, while KG Canaleta and Mike Cortez had at least 14 points each. Still, Air21 absorbed its second straight loss and dropped to 1-2.

Also going for naught was the Express' terrific defensive stance that harassed the Energy Cola no end and often left them little in the shotclock.

"They put us out of our rhythm," admitted Barako coach Bong Ramos.

Jonas Villanueva even left the game with still 10:05 left due to a suspected right hamstring pull, but that proved to be a blessing in disguise as in came Urbiztondo.

The performance of the man who turns 30 years old Wednesday once scored 31 points in 27 minutes and, during the 2011 season scattered 12 points in 90 seconds. Friday's game eerily approximated those feats.

In a whirlwind series of events Urbiztondo boomed in three triples, completed a three-point play and turned his last steal into a feed to Mick Pennisi for another trey that made it an 88-81 count.

Air21 did not lose heart just yet as Dunigan's followup and Canaleta's third three-pointer of the night made it a interesting, 86-88, still 19 ticks left.

Whatever hopes the Express may have had of stealing the win completely vanished, however, when Urbiztondo himself canned two charities and Pennisi one to seal scoring.

"A very sweet win and we're now 3-1," said Toroman. "Good for us, but we expect more tough games."

The scores:

BARAKO 91 - Brock 23, Intal 16, Urbiztondo 15, Seigle 10, Villanueva 9, Maliksi 7, Pennisi 5, Kramer 3, Allado 2, Macapagal 1, Weinstein 0.

AIR21 86 - Dunigan 30, Canaleta 15, Cortez 14, Ritualo 7, Arboleda 6, Wilson 4, Custodio 4, Isip 4, Omolon 2, Atkins 0, Sena 0, Baclao 0, Menor 0, Reyes 0.

Quarters: 27-18, 46-47, 61-66, 91-86

Clarence Cortez Clarence Cortez
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