VERNON Macklin and LA Tenorio stepped up big in the absence of superstar Mark Caguioa as Barangay Ginebra overpowered an off-form Barako Bull side, 96-89 to keep its top four hopes alive on Sunday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 6’9” Macklin banged in 22 of his game-high 33 points, including a vicious in-your-face slam dunk off Barako Bull import Evan Brock with 1:35 remaining that Ginebra's fourth successive win.
Tenorio, on the other hand, played his best offensive game as a Gin King, finishing with 27 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals to catapult his team to a 5-5 win-loss record.
The victory allowed Barangay Ginebra to grab a share of fourth to sixth places with idle San Mig Coffee and Air21.
“Without Mark (Caguioa), it’s a different ball game. But the guys showed they can step up. Yung dalawa (Macklin and Tenorio), di talaga nagpatalo,” said Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua.
The Gin Kings lost Caguioa, the reigning PBA MVP, when he suffered a partial sprain on the MCL (medial cruciate ligament) of his left knee in the team’s 84-81 win over the Meralco Bolts on Friday.
Chua said the veteran Ginebra gunner is listed as a day-to-day since there was no swelling on his left knee after a bad fall during the closing minutes of the game.
The Gin Kings dominated the boards, 57-41, with Macklin hauling down 22 rebounds while hardworking forward Rudy Hatfield chipped in 10 caroms.
The Energy Cola dropped to 3-7 after absorbing their sixth straight loss this conference, putting a serious damper on their playoff hopes.
Brgy Ginebra 96 - Macklin 33, Tenorio 27, Raymundo 10, Baracael 9, Ellis 7, Hatfield 7, Mamaril 2, Labagala 1, Jensen 0, Espiritu 0, Helterbrand 0
Barako Bull 89 - Maliksi 22, Brock 20, Seigle 12, Urbiztondo 8, Villanueva 7, Macapagal 6, Anthony 5, Pennisi 5, Kramer 2, Allado 2, Duncil 0, Intal 0
Quarterscores: 25-19; 46-43; 75-67; 96-89