BARANGAY Ginebra made short work of Air21, 99-76, to keep its winning streak going in the PBA Philippine Cup on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Rookie Chris Ellis provided the offense and spark for the Kings with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field, including 13 in the first half when the league’s crowd darlings opened the game wide open.
The Kings held the Express to just nine points in the opening quarter for a 20-9 lead, before stretching the lead to as much as 26 points at the half behind the scoring of Ellis and LA Tenorio.
Ellis, tabbed by Ginebra at No. 6 overall in the rookie draft, highlighted his best game as a pro with the match’s highlight reel play, scoring on a nasty tomahawk dunk during a fastbreak play.
The lead stood at its biggest at 81-47 at the end of the third quarter.
It was Ginebra’s fifth straight win for a 7-5 (win-loss) record as it stayed on track for a possible No. 3 or No. 4 placing entering the playoffs.
Tenorio added 15 points and seven assists, while Rudy Hatfield had a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Ginebra coach Siot Tanquingcen, however, wouldn’t want to fall into a sense of complacency with the Kings’ present situation.
“It’s still a long way to go. Maganda na nanalo kami, but we still can’t let our guards down. We have to keep on working pa,” he said.
Air21, meanwhile, absorbed its fourth consecutive loss for a 4-9 card, as it fell short again of clinching a berth in the quarterfinals.
Wynee Arboleda showed the way for the Express with 17 points, while Nelbert Omolon and KG Canaleta added 12 and 11, respectively.
Ginebra (99) – Ellis 18, Tenorio 15, Hatfield 11, Helterbrand 9, Mamaril 8, Caguioa 8, Raymundo 8, Wilson 7, Maierhofer 4, Espiritu 3, Taha 2, Jensen 2, Maliksi 2, Labagala 2.
Air21 (76) – Arboleda 17, Omolon 12, Canaleta 11, Ritualo 8, Wilson 7, Cortez 7, Isip 4, Sena 3, Baclao 3, Reyes 2, Andaya 2, Atkins 0, Custodio 0.
Quarterscores: 28-9; 55-29; 81-34; 99-76.