RAIN or Shine clicked on both ends as it sent Barangay Ginebra back to earth with a 94-86 decision on Sunday to clinch a quarterfinal berth in the Smart-Bro PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters negated their height disadvantage with their trademark running game and a balanced effort on offense, while taking Greg Slaughter out his comfort zone on defense to put an end to the Gin Kings’ three-game winning streak that dropped them to an even 4-4 win-loss card.
Jeff Chan and Jericho Cruz showed the way with 19 and 16 points, respectively, for the Painters, who stretched their own winning run to three and hiked their record to 6-1 to tie leaders Alaska and San Miguel Beer.
“We just played harder than usual today,” Painters coach Yeng Guiao said. “We knew Ginebra is a tough team especially with their winning streak…but fortunately we were making our shots and we made life difficult for Greg.”
Slaughter, coming in averaging 22.7 points, still managed to score 19 markers on 50-percent shooting, but the Best Player of the Conference race frontrunner committed five turnovers as he looked uneasy at times against the suffocating defense.
Japeth Aguilar carried most of the offensive load for Ginebra with a game-high 22 points and 10 boards, scoring nine in the final frame, but committed a handful of costly errors down the stretch.
The Painters, who made half of their 74 shots, led by as many as 15 points and never let the Gin Kigns come closer than seven points, the last after a Slaughter bucket that made it 91-84, in the payoff period.
Chan spearheaded the breakaway, scoring 14 of his total output in the final frame, including a stepback jumper from the right wing that also resulted in a foul off Aguilar for the three-point play, putting RoS up, 94-84.
ROS 94 – Chan 19, Cruz 16, Ahanmisi 13, Belga 9, Norwood 8, Ponferada 7, Trollano 7, Ibanes 5, Quinahan 5, Tiu 3, Almazan 2, Matias 0, Nimes 0, Teng 0
GIN 86 – Aguilar 22, Slaughter 19, Caguioa 11, Mercado 8, Thompson 7, Tenorio 6, Helterbrand 5, Cruz 4, Marcelo 4, Devance 0, Ellis 0, Mariano 0, Salva 0
Quarterscores: 21-18, 39-39, 68-56, 94-86