ANTIPOLO – Barangay Ginebra turned to a balanced effort this time as it outlasted Mahindra, 80-76, to gain momentum in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup before a packed Ynares Center.
With Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar producing below expectations, the Gin Kings drew significant contribution from the rest, led by Joe Devance and Jervy Cruz, to notch their first back-to-back wins in two conferences.
Overall, Ginebra hiked its win-loss record to 3-3. Interestingly all the three wins came on the road - Dubai, Binan and now in this city.
The Enforcers lost for the fifth time in six games.
“Sometimes you don’t win with your best players,” Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said. “We got a good spark from the bench.”
Devance and Cruz, a recent trade acquisition, registered 14 and 10 points, respectively, off the bench as both forwards stepped up after Slaughter tallied just 16 points and eight boards Aguilar added only 12 points and five rebounds.
Cruz scored his last two points on mid-range jumper that put Ginebra up, 76-66, a cushion that looked like they were on the way to a runaway victory.
The Enforcers, though, refused to go down without a fight as Aldrech Ramos buried a triple then Karl Dehesa converted a three-point play as they came to within four points.
Slaughter, who missed a double-double for first time this conference, retaliated with a top-of-the key jumper and knocked down crucial charities after that to seal the deal.
Dehesa finished with a game-high 17 points, while Ramos added 13 and 11 boards. Mark Yee registered a third straight double-double with 10 and 11 in a losing effort.
GINEBRA 80 – Slaughter 16, Devance 14, Aguilar 12, Cruz 10, Caguioa 7, Ellis 6, Mercado 4, Salva 4, Marcelo 3, Tenorio 2, Thompson 2
MAHINDRA 76 – Dehesa 17, Ramos 13, Pascual 12, Yee 10, Bagatsing 8, Guinto 6, Revilla 6, Hubalde 2, Pinto 2, Alvarez 0, Canaleta 0
Quarterscores: 21-15, 38-42, 57-60, 80-76