BARANGAY Ginebra didn’t take long to get its groove back as it rolled past Rain or Shine, 101-87, in their PBA Governors’ Cup encounter on Sunday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Hardly affected by a heartbreaking double-overtime loss to San Miguel Beer last Sunday, the Gin Kings put up a solid start and broke away from a relatively tight game down the stretch as they registered their fourth win in five games – and fifth overall in seven outings.
The Gin Kings thus gained a share of second spot with Mahindra, while the E-Painters were stuck in the middle after falling to an even 3-3 win-loss card as they finished the game without coach Yeng Guiao after the fiery mentor was ejected for the second straight game.
Justin Brownlee delivered with an all-around performance of 31 points, 13 boards, seven assists, and six steals, while Sol Mercado led a balanced local effort as he came off the bench to contribute 19 points, including a dagger three-pointer that took the fight out of the E-Painters.
“It’s been a real team effort so far,” said Gin Kings coach Tim Cone, who dedicated the win to a fellow legendary mentor in the late Baby Dalupan. “This was one of the ‘over-the-hump’ games, because we have a lot of respect for Rain or Shine. If you can beat them once in a while, it kind of tells you you’ve arrived.’”
“After playing San Miguel in that tough game and then coming back and beating Rain or Shine, it’s a good indication that we’re getting closer to where we want to be,” the champion coach added.
The E-Painters kept it within single digits as they trailed by just nine points, 89-80, with still over three minutes left, but saw Mark Caguiao bury a jumper before Mercado knocked down that telling three-pointer that sparked a run that gave them their biggest lead at 18 points.
Jeff Chan was on target with three triples on the way to scoring a team-high 19 points, but found little help from the rest of the E-Painters locals as import Dior Lowhorn fared poorly against his former team, tallying just 10 points and eight boards in 31 minutes on the floor.
It also didn’t help that Guiao was sent off after picking up his second technical foul after complaining on a goaltending non-call on Japeth Aguilar with less than three minutes to go.
GIN 101- Brownlee 31, Mercado 19, Tenorio 15, Aguilar 14, Caguioa 6, Thompson 6, Marcelo 4, Cruz 2, Devance 2, Mariano 2
ROS 87 – Chan 19, Cruz 11, Lowhorn 10, Tiu 9, Lee 7, Quinahan 6, Ahanmisi 5, Belga 5, Ponferrada 5, Almaan 5, Trollano 3, Norwood 2, Teng
Quarterscores: 25-16; 48-42; 75-71; 101-87