BARANGAY Ginebra scraped, struggled and eventually emerged victorious against newcomer Globalport, 81-79, on Friday night, ending a five-game losing streak in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.
A veteran-laden five that featured a three-guard combination of Mark Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand, and LA Tenorio brought the Gin Kings back to life in the fourth quarter, giving the crowd favorites just enough buffer to withstand a fiery second-half explosion by fit-again Globalport gunner Gary David.
"Grateful for this victory, but it’s a long way for us. We just have to keep trusting (each other) and keep working. Hope to build on this,” said a relieved Siot Tanquingcen after the Kings forced a three-way logjam at 3-5 with idle Petron and Air21, which defeated Barako Bull, 86-85, in the opening game.
Caguioa topscored with 19 points while Tenorio added 14 for the Kings, who trailed for much of the match until Helterbrand and another rarely used player, Elmer Espiritu, came off the bench and finally gave Ginebra's play a semblance of order on the floor.
Still, they had to contend with David, who announced his return after missing five games with a knee injury by hitting a game-high 27 points - 21 of them coming in the fourth quarter alone.
The Batang Pier's chances, however, died in the hands of Willie Miller, who missed a pull-up three-pointer in one possession then was whistled for stepping out of bounds in another last-gasp possession where a basket could have sent the game into overtime.
“It’s really a process right now kasi admittedly after the first two games, yung hype ang laki eh, so somehow, medyo nawala sa focus. It’s been a learning process for us,” said Tanquingcen.
The Gin Kings, though, will have little time to savor the victory as they are set to return to the court two days later against league-leader Talk ‘N Text on Sunday at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
“Well, we can’t relax right now, because we only have one day to prepare as we play the No. 1 team in the league,” said Caguioa, who nonetheless found a lot of positives in the win.
"Kita mo naman, mga beterano na naglaro kanina sa loob in the fourth, so we weren’t rushing. Kasi somehow, with the new ones, medyo di pa gaano nagbe-blend," he added.
It was another sorry loss for Globalport, which remained at the bottom of the standings with its 1-8 record, after absorbing its fifth straight loss.
Barangay Ginebra 81 - Caguioa 19, Tenorio 14, Espiritu 12, Wilson 9, Mamaril 8, Helterbrand 8, Ellis 6, Maierhofer 3, Hatfield 2, Jensen 0, Labagala 0, Raymundo 0
Globalport 79 - David 27, Miller 18, Deutchamn 8, Lingganay 7, Guevarra 7, Yee 4, Vergara 4, Salvador 2, Adducul 2, Manuel 0, Mandani 0, Al-Hussaini 0, Antonio 0
Quarterscores: 17-20, 28-33, 52-56, 81-79