BIÑAN, Laguna – Barangay Ginebra vented its frustrations on Meralco as it overwhelmed the Bolts, 89-64, to get back on the winning track in the Smart-Bro PBA Philippine Cup at a packed Alonte Sports Arena.
Failing to live up to expectations early in the all-Filipino conference, the Gin Kings finally flashed their potential, building an early lead and knowing how to protect it this time to score the emphatic victory, just their second in five games.
Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar stood tallest as usual for the Gin Kings, who added to the misery of the Bolts as the latter remained the only winless team in the tournament with five losses.
Slaughter registered 18 points, 14 boards, three assists, one block, and one steal in 32 minutes, while Aguilar bucked foul trouble to end up with the same scoring output as his frontcourt partner, on top of six boards in just 25 minutes.
More importantly, the twin towers finally found significant help from their backcourt, foremost from offseason acquisition Nico Salva, who tallied 11 points and six boards in 17 minutes.
“We shot the ball well, but the most important thing was we played the tempo that we wanted to play, a tempo that can keep our big men fresh,” Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said.
“We got big contributions really for the first time from our guard core – Mark (Caguioa), Nico ,and LA (Tenorio ), they were under control,” added the American mentor, who lost his voice before the game, leaving top deputy Richard del Rosario to call out most of the instructions.
“It was a difficult night for me, but luckily, we played well, so they didn’t need much of my voice tonight,” Cone said of his team, whose lead ballooned to 31 points, 72-41, early in the fourth quarter.
Gary David once again led the Bolts in scoring, but was held to just 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting after exploding for 40 markers against Barako Bull on Sunday.
GINEBRA 89 – Aguilar 18, Slaughter 18, Salva 11, Devance 8, Caguioa 7, Mercado 7, Tenorio 7, Ellis 4, Villamor 4, Helterbrand 3, Marcelo 2, Mariano 0, Thompson 0
MERALCO 64 – David 18, Al-Hussaini 13, Newsome 13, Hugnatan 5, Guevarra 3, Hodge 3, Nabong 3, Amer 2, Dillinger 2, Faundo 2, Alapag 0, Atkins 0, Ferriols 0, Sedurifa 0
Quarterscores: 22-17, 42-25, 70-41, 89-64