BARAKO Bull spooked Barangay Ginebra on Halloween, pulling off a stunning 82-79 victory on Saturday night to get on the winning track in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Energy gave the never-say-die Gin Kings a dose of their own medicine, coming back from a huge 21-point deficit early in the game behind the clutch play of RR Garcia, Chico Lanete, and JC Intal.
Intal pumped in a team-high 22 points and grabbed the game-preserving steal, while Garcia added 16, including 10 in the final frame and two on a layup that gave the Energy a seven-point cushion that proved enough to weather the Gin Kings’ own rally.
“All teams are really pumped up when they face Ginebra,” Energy coach Koy Banal said. “I give credit to the players. They really prepared themselves mentally and emotionally.”
The Energy improved their win-loss card to 1-1, while keeping the Gin Kings and coach Tim Cone winless in two games.
The sorry loss also spoiled the dominant performance of Greg Slaughter, who recorded the first 20-20 of his career, scoring 27 points and hauling down 26 rebounds on top of four assists and two blocks in 37 minutes.
The Energy trailed, 71-73, before Garcia went on a virtual one-man run, scored eight of his team’s next nine points to give them a seven-point lead.
Sol Mercado and LA Tenorio retaliated with a three-pointer each as the Gin Kings came to within one, but that was the closest they got as Garcia buried two charities on the other end, proving to be the final nail in the coffin of the match a day before All Saints’ Day.
For a while, though, it seemed the Gin Kings were poised for a runaway victory as they erected a 27-6 cushion late in the first quarter behind Slaughter and Mark Caguioa.
But the Energy slowly clawed back, trimming the deficit to just seven points at the half, before knotting the count after the third quarter, setting the stage for the thrilling finish.
BARAKO 82 - Intal 22, Garcia 16, Baracael 8, Lanete 8, Monfort 7, Caperal 6, Pennisi 6, Wilson 6, Miranda 2, Cruz 1, Sorongon 0, Urbiztondo 0.
GINEBRA 79 - Slaughter 27, Tenorio 12, Ellis 9, Mercado 9, Aguilar 6, Caguioa 6, Devance 6, Marcelo 2, Salva 2, Brondial 0, Helterbrand 0, Thompson 0.
Quarterscores: 9-29, 36-43, 57-57, 82-79