Ginebra gives playoff aspiration a big push with masterful win over TNT KaTropa
Japeth Aguilar escapes with a two-handed dunk against TNT. Jerome Ascano

BARANGAY Ginebra continued its early playoff push as it rolled past TNT KaTropa, 93-78, to get back above .500 ahead of the crucial stretch in the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Putting up a fitting follow-up to their a 26-point blowout win over Kia, the Gin Kings leaned on a late breakaway behind the triple threat of LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar, and Greg Slaughter.

The Gin Kings thus registered their fifth win overall in nine games as they handed the Texters their fifth loss in nine games.

“It’s a very stressful time for coaches looking at quotients, but our guys stepped up today,” Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said. “We played okay in the first half, but we elevated our play in the second half.”

The Gin Kings were only up, 75-71, with a little over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. But the crowd darlings went on a 16-4 run to pull away for good and establish their biggest lead at 16 points, capped by a Scottie Thompson triple with less than two minutes to go.

Tenorio orchestrated the offense with aplomb as he scattered 27 points on 11-of-19 shooting, 11 assists, five boards, one steal, and only one turnover in over 38 minutes as a starter.

Aguilar and Slaughter lived up to their twin towers tag as the former churned out 25 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two blocks, and the latter pumped in 20 points, 14 caroms, four assists, and two blocks.

Thompson sustained his all-around play with nine points, 11 rebounds, four assists, and two steals for the Gin Kings, who shot 48.8 percent from the field and dished out 25 assists.

Jayson Castro and Kelly Williams led the Texters with 17 points each, but the two TNT stars contributed just two points apiece in the payoff period.

The scores:

GINEBRA 93 — Tenorio 27, J. Aguilar 25, Slaughter 20, Thompson 9, Cruz 6, Ferrer 6, R. Aguilar 0, Caguioa 0, Caperal 0, Mercado 0, Taha 0

TNT 78 — Castro 17, Williams 17, Pogoy 16, Tautuaa 10, Garcia 8, Paredes 2, Reyes 2, Semerad 2, Tamsi 2, Torres 2, Carey 0, Golla 0

Quarterscores: 22-18, 44-42, 63-62, 93-78

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