MARK Caguioa provided the much-needed spark in a crucial fourth-quarter run to lead Barangay Ginebra to a 100-91 win over a pesky Blackwater side in the PBA Philippine Cup on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 34-year-old Caguioa averaged a career-low eight points in three games in a slow start to the season, but the one-time league MVP proved in the match against Blackwater that he still has a lot left in the tank.
The 'Spark' scored 10 of his team-high 18 points in the final quarter, mocking Blackwater’s defense with his trademark medium-range jumpers and a baseline tear drop entering the final two minutes.
The Ginebra veteran guard’s unmolested layup off a steal from Blackwater forward JR Cawaling’s bad pass with under 40 seconds left to go sealed the Gin Kings’ third win in four starts.
“I told you, they (Elite) are tough,” said Ginebra coach Jeffrey Cariaso. “That’s the thing we’re preparing for because this (Blackwater team) is a second half team. Buti na lang our guys stayed firm and stayed disciplined.”
Ginebra, which is coming off a 97-81 loss to NLEX last week, came more prepared this time, peppering Blackwater with 11 three-pointers while 'Twin Towers' Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar dominated inside.
The Gin Kings took a huge 66-41 rebounding advantage, with Slaughter grabbing 13 and Aguilar 11.
Veteran playmaker Paul Artadi led Blackwater with 21 points, six assists and two steals while Bambam Gamalinda chipped in 15.
The Elite sank deeper into the cellar with their fourth straight loss in their inaugural season in the pro league.