BARANGAY Ginebra came alive when it mattered most as it held off GlobalPort, 104-97, to stay unbeaten in the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Coming off a relatively long holiday break, the Gin Kings dusted off the cobwebs before turning it up at crunchtime behind LA Tenorio to put away their second straight win.
apeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter anchored the last push, but it was LA Tenorio who orchestrated the offense for the Gin Kings.
Tenorio went 7-of-16 from the field but was spot-on when it mattered, leading an all-too-familiar fightback that left the Batang Pier, missing injured Terrence Romeo, winless in two games.
"This is what teams coming from championships do - they sleepwalk for three and a half quarters and try to win game down the stretch,” Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said. “I’m very disturbed by that.”
“We kinda stole this one tonight,” he added. “I’m okay with the win, but I’m not happy with the way we played.”
After all, the Batang Pier led for most of the game and were still ahead, 96-95, after Stanley Pringle knocked down a triple with two minutes and 47 seconds left, before Aguilar retaliated with a layup that gave the Gin Kings the lead for good in a game that saw 21 lead changes and six deadlocks.
Aguilar finished with a team-high 21 points and missed a double-double by just one rebound, adding six blocks and four assists in almost 37 minutes, while Slaughter added 18 points, nine boards, and five blocks.
Tenorio chipped in 17 points, seven assists, five rebounds, and two steals in 38 minutes, while backcourt partner Scottie Thompson flirted with a triple-double of 11 rebounds, nine points, and eight assists, along with one steal in 37 minutes.
Aljon Mariano provided a huge spark off the bench with 11 points and five boards in 17 minutes, while Jervy Cruz continued to step up without Joe Devance, putting up 10 points and 11 caroms.
Sean Anthony led the Batang Pier with 29 points, nine boards, four steals, and three assists in almost 39 minutes in a losing effort.
GINEBRA 104 – Aguilar 21, Slaughter 18, Tenorio 17, Mariano 11, Cruz 10, Thompson 9, Ferrer 8, Caguioa 7, Taha 3.
GLOBALPORT 97 – Anthony 29, Pringle 23, Nabong 12, Sargent 12, Grey 9, Guinto 7, Arana 5, Taha 0, Elorde 0, Flores 0, Gabayni 0
Quarterscores: 19-23, 46-48, 68-77, 104-97