THE never-say-die in Barangay Ginebra finally resurfaced on Wednesday night when it tamed Barako Bull, 120-98, to pump life into its flat-lining quarterfinal aspirations in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
With their backs against the wall, the Gin Kings showed what made them the league’s most popular team, turning a close battle early on into a blowout in the second half behind a spirited showing led by their role players.
Orlando Johnson delivered as usual with 41 points and nine boards in 38 minutes, but it was an unlikely bench group led by Eman Monfort, Rodney Brondial, and Kim Jiwan that sparked the rout.
As a result, the Gin Kings hiked their win-loss total to 4-6 in a tie with Talk ‘N Text in ninth spot, although their fate is not entirely in their hands anymore.
“It’s all about energy and effort and hustle,” Gin Kings coach Frankie Lim said “I hope we give the same energy (in our remaining games).”
The postseason-bound Energy dropped to 6-4, allowing Rain or Shine and GlobalPort to gain a piece of third spot.
Monfort, seeing extended minutes with starting point guard LA Tenorio having an off night, repaid Lim’s faith by tallying 12 points eight boards, four assists, and two steals. Kim produced the same scoring output as Monfort, while completing an all-around effort with seven assists, six boards, and one steal.
Brondial added 10 markers, including two on a stab that capped a 9-0 run that turned the game around for good in the third quarter after they were still trailing, 77-72.
Sol Mercado was a starter that shone, scoring 10 of his 14 points in the payoff period.
Liam McMorrow registered 32 points, but the 7-foot-2 Canadian slotman hauled down just 11 boards, way below his 22.6 average coming into the game, while former Ginebra guard Joseph Yeo was held two points in the second half after scattering 16 in the first two quarters.
GINEBRA 120 – Johnson 41, Mercado 14, Monfort 12, Aguilar 12, Kim 12, Brondial 10, Slaughter 9, Marcelo 5, Tenorio 3, Pena 2, Baracael 0
BARAKO 98 – McMorrow 32, Yeo 18, Pascual 14, Intal 13, Garcia 10, Lanete 8, Hubalde 2, Sorongon 1, Forrester 0, Ababou 0, Salvador 0, Salva 0, Chua 0, Wilson 0, Maierhofer 0
Quarterscores: 31-28, 49-49, 81-77, 120-98