Ginebra turns to defense, Aguilar's dominance inside to keep Mahindra winless
Kevin Ferrer and Ginebra teammate Dave Marcelo foil a shot by Russel Escoto. Jerome Ascano

BARANGAY Ginebra regained the focus and defensive effort that ended a long championship drought as it rolled past Mahindra, 89-70, on Friday night to get back to winning ways in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Gin Kings saw a tough challenge from the winless Floodbuster early on, before breaking away in the second half to give coach Tim Cone the luxury to field his rookies in extended minutes as they cruised to the victory, their second in four games.

Japeth Aguilar sustained his solid showing with 15 points and 12 boards, but the Gin Kings also got significant contribution from Kevin Ferrer and Chris Ellis to keep the Floodbuster winless in five games.

“I don’t want to call us a diesel engine, but it took us a long time to really get it going,” Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said. “I was hoping to do a lot more for tonight, but Mahindra didn’t follow the script. They played us really, really tough.”

“But I hope that second half can carry over,” the champion coach added. “We just got to keep relying on our defense and hope we can string some wins together.”

The Gin Kings led most of the way, but couldn’t keep the Floodbuster from safe distance until the payoff period where they outscored the winless side, 34-23.

That allowed Cone to play Ferrer for almost 20 minutes and the rookie forward repaid his coach’s faith by tallying 12 points, three boards, one assist, and one block, while not committing a single turnover.

Ginebra regular draft picks Jammer Jamito and Jericho de Guzman also saw some action as the big men duo combined for six points.

Paolo Taha also made the most of his 11 minutes against his former team, scoring eight points and grabbing two boards.

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Mark Yee led the Floodbuster with 15 points, while Nico Salva also delivered against his former team with 11 points.

The scores:

GINEBRA 89 – Aguilar 15, Ellis 12, Ferrer 12, Mariano 9, Taha 8, Thompson 6, Devance 6, Mercado 6, Tenorio 5, Jamito 4, Marcelo 4, De Guzman 2, Cruz 0, Caguioa 0

MAHINDRA 70 – Yee 15, Salva 11, Celda 9, Escoto 6, Mallari 6, Elorde 5, Eriobu 4, Teng 4, Arana 3, Revilla 3, Apinan 2, Paniamogan 2, Ballesteros 0, Digregorio 0, Webb 0

Quarterscores: 14-13, 32-27, 55-47, 89-70 

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