JOSEPH Yeo and Alex Cabagnot stood tall in the face of a searing Barangay Ginebra San Miguel rally, delivering clutch baskets down the stretch to power Petron Blaze to a pulsating 98-95 win over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday night in the PBA Philippine Cup at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
The 6’1” Yeo scored on a twisting fastbreak layup off LA Tenorio’s tight defense to put Petron ahead for good, 97-95, while Cabagnot, who had a lackluster performance in the team’s loss to Alaska recently, split his charities for what proved to be the marginal count.
The Gin Kings, who dropped their third straight game after opening the season with back-to-back victories, had two chances to force overtime, but Chris Ellis and Mark Caguioa bungled their three-point attempts. Tenorio’s quick pass to Willy Wilson inside then went out of bounds, which practically sealed Barangay Ginebra’s defeat.
Petron, who entered the game without rookie 6’9” center June Mar Fajardo after undergoing surgery recently, also lost veteran center Danny Ildefonso, who dislocated his left shoulder during the second period.
“I think Petron plays better with an injured lineup. Danny I was down because of a dislocation sa shoulder. But that just shows the character of the team… everyone helping out,” said a relieved Petron coach Olsen Racela after the Boosters snapped a two-game losing streak.
Yet, even with a handicapped frontline, the Boosters managed to take the lead for most part of the second half, thanks to Yeo, who went four-of-five from beyond the arc.
“Kumalas yung kaliwang balikat ko,” Ildefonso said, pointing to his left shoulder after the game. “Pang-lima ko na ito. Bukas ipapa-check up ko agad.”
Cabagnot fired a game-high 25 points to go with three rebounds and eight assists. He shot seven-of-10 from inside the arc, determined to redeem himself from a dismal game he had against the Alaska Aces, where they lost, 86-88.
“Coming into the game, I told Alex to just relax, play loose and start strong. I wanted him to be aggressive from the start. And that’s what he did,” said Racela.
Arwind Santos was also intensity personified, scoring 22 points, grabbing 17 rebounds and added two blocked shots, while Chris Lutz added 18, five boards and four assists in a balanced scoring attack.
Mark Caguioa almost singlehandedly won the fight for the Gin Kings in the final period, scoring 12 of his team-high 23 points. But he missed two short jumpers at the height of Barangay Ginebra’s endgame rally.
LA Tenorio added 15 points while Kerby Raymundo had 14 for Barangay Ginebra, whose third consecutive defeat left pro-Gin Kings crowd disappointed. Estimated crowd that came to watch the Petron-Barangay Ginebra was placed at 13,000.
Petron 98 - Cabagnot 25, Santos 22, Lutz 18, Yeo 16, Pena 6, Washington 4, Ildefonso 4, Lanete 2, Mallari 1, Sison 0, Miranda 0
Barangay Ginebra 95 - Caguioa 23, Tenorio 15, Raymundo 14, Ellis 8, Wilson, Maierhofer 7, Mamaril 7, Helterbrand 7, Maliksi 5, Jensen 1, Hatfield 0
Quarter scores: 20-25, 48-49, 74-68, 98-95