IT took a fellow contender to bring out the best in Barangay Ginebra, after all.
The Kings finally barged into the win column in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, doing it in impressive fashion on Sunday by hammering San Miguel Beer, 95-82, before a sizeable crowd at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
After losing their first two games against surprise leaders Meralco and Barako Bull, the Kings regained their fiery form, breaking the game wide open in the final frame with their defense that translated into transition offense.
Mark Caguioa sparked the breakaway by firing nine of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, ably providing support for import Michael Dunigan who posted 29 points and 13 boards as the Kings kept the Beermen winless after two games.
Greg Slaughter and Joseph Yeo were the other two Kings in double-figure scoring with 18 and 11 points, respectively.
“Yung mga ginagawa namin sa practice hindi lumalabas the past two games, but in this game, lahat (nagagawa),” Kings coach Ato Agustin said. “Our defense was good and lumabas 'yung running game namin.”
Slowly but surely adjusting from the triangle offense to run-and-gun system, the Kings scored 16 points on fastbreaks after averaging just 6.5 fastbreak points in first two games.
Their fast-paced game was none more evident than midway through the payoff period where Ginebra scored nine unanswered points that broke the game wide-open.
In all, the Kings outscored their sister team, 23-16 in the fourth quarter to pull away in a marquee matchup that saw 11 lead changes and three deadlocks.
The loss put to naught the splendid showing of SMB reinforcement Ronald Roberts Jr., who poured in 32 points to go with 14 rebounds, and swatted away five shots as the athletic American forward carried the frontline with local stars June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos only a shadow of their true selves.
The usually dominant duo combined for just 15 points on 6-of-19 shooting, with Santos now 0-of-14 from three-point distance two games into the midseason conference.
Ginebra 95 – Dunigan 29, Slaughter 18, Caguioa 17, Yeo 11, Mamaril 6, Tenorio 8, Aguilar 2, Ellis 2, Baracael 2, Pena 0, Urbiztondo 0, Helterbrand 0
SMB 82 – Roberts 32, Lutz 12, Lassiter 10, Fajardo 9, Cabagnot 8, santos 6, Tubid 5, Ross 0, Kramer 0, Reyes 0, Omolon 0, Pascual 0, Fortuna 0
Quarterscores: 27-21; 48-41; 72-66; 95-82