No triple overtime needed as Ginebra dispatches ROS to draw first blood in quarterfinal series
Sol Mercado capped a late salvo that helped Ginebra pull away with the win. Jerome Ascano

BARANGAY Ginebra didn’t need a long, gruelling battle this time to dispatch Rain or Shine, 88-80, and gain a headstart in their PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals series on Monday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Coming off a triple-overtime win over the Elasto Painters in their last game of the eliminations, the Gin Kings needed only regulation to find a way to win as they turned to a late salvo to beat the same foe, this time with higher stakes.

LA Tenorio and Joe Devance spearheaded the attack, while Scottie Thompson put up another all-around performance of 14 points, 15 boards, and seven assists as the Gin Kings moved on the verge of advancing to the semifinals.

“We missed our crowd tonight on a Monday night, but we found our own emotion and fight,” Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said. “I thought the guys did a good job in grinding it out.”

Game Two of the best-of-three series is on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

For the most part of Game One, though, it looked the like same script as in their previous meeting as both teams engaged each other in a see-saw encounter.

The Gin Kings were just ahead by a point, 70-69, with over eight minutes left in the payoff period, before they scored 12 unanswered points, capped by a Sol Mercado triple, to build their biggest lead and enough cushion to shrug off a late rally by the E-Painters.

Tenorio registered 16 points, built around four triples, four boards, and three assists, while Devance added 15 points, five assists, four rebounds, and one steal in 37 minutes.

Japeth Aguilar chipped in 14 points, nine caroms, four assists, four blocks, and two steals as he manned the middle in the absence of injured Greg Slaughter.

Beau Belga led the E-Painters with 17 points, five boards, one assist, and one steal in just 26 minutes off the bench that went for naught.

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The scores:

GINEBRA 88 — Tenorio 16, Devance 15, J. Aguilar 14, Thompson 14, Mercado 13, Ferrer 6, Mariano 6, Cruz 4, R. Aguilar 0, Caguioa 0

ROS 80 — Belga 17, Daquioag 16, Ahanmisi 10, Ponferrada 9, Nambatac 8, Trollano 6, Washington 5, Norwood 4, Tiu 3, Maiquez 2, Almazan 0, Borboran 0

Quarterscores: 21-23, 44-43, 68-64, 88-80

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos