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GlobalPort escapes Brgy. Ginebra, clinches 1st semis berth in franchise history

Stanley Pringle exploded for 25 points and escaped with a controversial non-call in the final play as GlobalPort advanced to the semifinals after beating Brgy. Ginebra in a nerve-wracking knockout game. PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines -- GlobalPort barged into the semifinals for the first time in franchise history after surviving Brgy. Ginebra, 84-83, in overtime marred by a controversial non-call that did not sit well with the Kings' legion of fans. 

The Batang Pier survived with their biggest victory to date after the game officials missed a ball-hogging violation on Stanley Pringle in the closing seconds of extra time. 

Pringle and Terrence Romeo fired 25 and 23 points, respectively as the Batang Pier's dynamic duo provided the biggest baskets in the nerve-wracking game that drew a big Sunday crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Brgy. Ginebra had a chance to win it in regulation but LA Tenorio, who sank the game winner in an epic overtime win against Star last Christmas, could only split his free throws. This allowed GlobalPort to tie the game and send it into overtime with big man Billy Mamaril, a former Ginebra player, banging in the game-tying basket in the final four seconds. 

GlobalPort played with more poise in the extension and led by four, 84-80, until Japeth Aguilar, who was silent the whole game suddenly came alive with three unanswered points to make it 84-83 with eight seconds left. The final moments of the thrilling game that was marked by 12 lead changes and 13 deadlocks became tense when Pringle got trapped by two Brgy. Ginebra defenders near the midcourt off the last inbound play. The sophomore guard protected the ball and was able to elude the defense and passed it to a teammate but television replays showed he held it for more than five seconds. 

The Batang Pier's breakthrough march to the semifinals was met with a deafening boos from the pro-Ginebra crowd.

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Long after the final buzzer sounded and the Batang Pier already in their locker room, Brgy. Ginebra coach Tim Cone, who heavily protested the non-call, and the rest of the Kings refused to leave the court while in disbelief.  

In the end, the referees upheld the final score as no whistle was called during the controversial play. 

GlobalPort will move on to face top seed Alaska in the best-of-seven semifinal series. 

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