SHORTHANDED Ginebra returned to its winning ways, beating San Miguel, 110-102, on Sunday in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The injury-riddled Kings found an unlikely hero in Aljon Mariano, who combined with Joe Devance and Justin Brownlee in the fourth quarter to create separation in the grudge match between the protagonists in the last Commissioner's Cup Finals.
Ginebra, which saw action without injured players Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, and Sol Mercado, hiked its record to 4-1 while atoning for a heartbreaking overtime loss to leader Blackwater just last Friday.
San Miguel slipped to 2-2 after playing against Ginebra without June Mar Fajardo and Marcio Lassiter, who sat out Sunday’s game due to sore eyes.
“We were fortunate that June Mar and Marcio didn’t play today. On the other hand, we didn’t play with a few guys as well. But this was a key game for both of us and we are just glad we got one,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
The two-time grand slam winner said Ginebra is simply in survival mode while awaiting the return of Slaughter and Co.
“I know we will get our guys back eventually, at least some of them. But we don’t want them to be back where we are in an impossible situation. In other words, knocked out in the bottom four, or in the middle four,” said Cone.
Brownlee had his usual numbers as he posted 29 points, 19 rebounds, and seven assists, but it was Mariano who sparked the Kings after scoring 20 points off the bench. Devance added 17 points and seven assists.
Ginebra went on a 10-2 run capped by a Mariano to open an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter, the biggest by either squad in the game. Devance also scored two field goals in that sequence that put Ginebra up, 97-86.
Christian Standhardinger had 25 points and 11 rebounds while Arwind Santos had 22 points for the Beermen, who also got 13 points and eight rebounds from import AZ Reid.
Ginebra 110 – Brownlee 29, Mariano 20, Devance 17, Tenorio 9, Ferrer 8, Caguioa 8, Chan 7, Caperal 6, Thompson 5, Manuel 1.
San Miguel 102 – Standhardinger 25, Santos 22, Ross 18, Reid 13, Cabagnot 10, Nabong 8, Pessumal 6, Heruela 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.
Quarters: 22-21; 49-44; 76-70; 110-102.