BARANGAY Ginebra finally managed to put up a consistent performance in back-to-back games as it held off Blackwater, 99-90, on Friday night to build momentum heading into the latter stretch of the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations.
The Gin Kings protected a sizeable lead heading into the final frame before weathering a late stand by the emergent Elite behind a balanced effort en route to their second straight win – their first win streak this conference.
Scottie Thompson sustained his splendid all-around play, tallying 13 points, 15 boards, seven assists, and two steals in 38 minute as the sophomore sensation stood tallest when Japeth Aguilar missed the second half with a strained muscle in his elbow.
The Gin Kings thus supplanted their victims in third spot with a 5-4 win-loss record in a tie with Rain or Shine, TNT KaTropa, and Phoenix, as the Elite dropped to 5-5.
“I thought there were so many opportunities to stretch the lead, but they kept hanging in there,” Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said of the Elite. “They’re not doing anything with mirrors.”
“I just felt we had a little more depth than they did especially when Japeth went out,” the champion coach added. “We had a lot of contributors outside Scottie.”
Aguilar registered all his 14 points, five boards, and two assists in the first before being sidelined after hurting his right elbow on his own following a breakaway slam late in the second quarter.
Jervy Cruz fired a team-high 16 points as he and Dave Marcelo stepped up in Aguilar’s absence, while LA Tenorio contributed 15 points, six assists, four boards, and four steals.
Joe Devance, like Thompson, also flirted with a triple-double with 13 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists, on top of two blocks, and one steal. The veteran forward also scored the jumper from top of the key that capped a 10-1 run that gave the Gin Kings a 95-86 lead, enough cushion to withstand the Elite’s late rally.
Sumang continued his stellar play off the Elite bench with a game-high 20 points, four assists, and three boards, while Mac Belo added 16 points and nine caroms in a losing effort.
Ginebra 99 – Cruz 16, Tenorio 15, Aguilar 14, Thompson 13, Devance 13, Marcelo 13, Ellis 6, Mercado 5, Ferrer 2, Caguioa 2, Taha 0
Blackwater 90 – Sumang 20, Belo 16, Aguilar 16, Sena 14, Dela Cruz 7, Gamalinda 6, Miranda 5, Buenafe 4, Pascual 2, Ababou 0, Pinto 0
Quarterscores: 25-23, 53-40, 80-71, 99-90