ANTIPOLO - Barangay Ginebra made short work of Meralco, 89-76, to gain a head start in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal campaign at the Ynares Center on Friday night.
The Kings had a scorching start to the game, racing to a 25-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. They maintained the double-digit cushion and extended it to as much as 25 points, 79-54, on a Willie Wilson basket early in the fourth.
The Kings, who beat Barako Bull, 102-92, in their last elimination-round game, picked the right time to come up with their first winning streak of the conference.
“But that was farthest from our minds,” Kings coach Siot Tanquingcen said. “The main thing was to get a good start sa semis. It’s very crucial. We have to get as many wins as we could early pa lang.”
Kerby Raymundo arguably had his best game in a Ginebra uniform as the versatile forward registered 16 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists to lead the Kings to their sixth win in 10 games.
“Kerby’s getting more comfortable with what we’re doing. It took some time,” Tanquingcen said of Raymundo, who was traded from B-Meg just before the start of the season. “Pero it’s still a work in progress. But the good thing is, he’s a hard worker and willing to learn.”
Cedric Bozeman, Allein Maliksi, and Mark Caguioa also scored in double figures for the Kings, tallying 13, 12, and 10 points, respectively.
Even Rico Maierhofer, who played just one minute, scored two points for Ginebra. Only Billy Mamaril failed to score for the Kings.
The sixth-seeded Bolts played in their third game in six nights and the grueling schedule seemed to have taken its toll on them.
Meralco, led by Mario West’s 22 points and nine rebounds, dropped to 4-6.
The Bolts need to win their last four games to have a chance for a playoff for a Finals berth.