BARAKO Bull's airtight defense held down Barangay Ginebra San Miguel to just two field goals in the final six minutes as it snapped a two-game slide with a 92-82 victory on Friday night in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Aware they might sink deeper at the bottom of the standings with another loss, the Energy Cola played with a greater sense of urgency, particularly in the final period.
Sean Anthony presided over Barako Bull’s fierce fourth-quarter performance, pouring in 11 of his game-high 21 points, providing the spark and injecting life to the Energy Cola, who now improve to 2-2.
They caught their victims in a four-way logjam with the Alaska Aces and Meralco Bolts.
“Before the game, we were on a skid. I told them if we work together, win or lose, something will happen. Fortunately for us we caught Ginebra on an off night. But this team has some bites left in it,” said Barako Bull coach Junel Baculi.
Barako Bull’s defense was so effective it allowed just three Ginebra players to score in the final period. Mark Caguioa, Kerby Raymundo, and Fil-am rookie Chris Ellis combined for the Gin Kings’ 13-fourth-quarter points, while the rest, particularly playmaker LA Tenorio, Mike Cortez and Jayjay Helterbrand, failed to deliver when it mattered most.
With five new faces joining the team during the offseason, Baculi said the Energy Cola still has to work on their chemistry.
“We just have to work on our chemistry. Though it’s very hard to quantify chemistry. But as soon as it comes, thank you. We just have to work on it every day in practice to know ano ang limitations ng bawat isa. That’s how we build chemistry,” added the fiery Barako Bull mentor.
The Gin Kings, a team teeming with talent in all positions, just couldn’t make the big baskets even though guys like Tenorio, Caguioa and Ellis had good looks from time to time in the perimeter.
Josh Urbiztondo, who joined Barako after being traded by San Mig Coffee prior to the start of the season, chipped in 19 points, four assists and two steals for the Energy Cola, while Mick Pennisi and Ronald Tubid added 11 and 10, respectively.
On the other hand, Caguioa led the Gin Kings with 21 points, while Raymundo and Billy Mamaril added 11 and 10. Barangay Ginebra suffered its second straight setback this season after opening the season with back-to-back victories.
The Gin Kings bowed to the Bolts during last week’s first road game in Digos City, 88-95.
Barako Bull 92 - Anthony 21, Urbiztondo 19, Pennisi 11, Tubid 10, Villanueva 9, Najorda 7, Yap 6, Seigle 3, Alvarez 2, Ballesteros 2, Kramer 2 Barangay
Ginebra 82 - Caguioa 21, Raymundo 11, Mamaril 10, Ellis 8, Jensen 8, Tenorio 6, Wilson 6, Maliksi 5, Maierhofer 5, Hatfield 2, Cortez 0, Helterbrand 0
Quarter scores: 27-22, 48-44, 68-69, 92-82