BOCAUE, Bulacan - Barangay Ginebra asserted its mastery of Magnolia in Christmas showcases as it turned back the Hotshots, 89-78, to jumpstart its PBA Philippine Cup campaign on Monday night.
Hitting the ground running after less than a month back in camp, the Gin Kings hardly showed rust as they completed a hat-trick of victories over the Hotshots in Christmas day games.
Greg Slaughter towered over everyone and finished with 24 points, 12 boards, four blocks, and two assists as he proved to be the main recipient of LA Tenorio, who ran the offense with aplomb to the delight of over 22,000 fans in attendance at the Philippine Arena.
“I’m a little surprised at how well we played,” Gin Kings coach Tim Cone insisted. “We weren’t perfect out there but we played with really good energy.”
“It was like a perfect storm for us to get beat tonight but our guys figured out a way,” he added as his team dealt the Hotshots their first defeat after opening the season with a 108-95 rout of Alaska last Wednesday.
Tenorio indeed found a way to get the ball down low, dishing out eight assists, mostly to Slaughter and his frontcourt partner Japeth Aguilar who registered 12 points, that last two on a slam dunk that gave the Gin Kings an 82-73 lead, enough cushion to complete the victory.
Tenorio’s ball distribution highlighted his performance that saw him finish with 15 points, five boards, five steals, and one block in 34 minutes.
Backcourt partner Scottie Thompson saw the most action at almost 41 minutes as he did everything on the court, finishing with nine rebounds, seven assists, six points, one steal, and only one turnover as he stepped up without injured point forwards Joe Devance and Art dela Cruz.
Ian Sangalang led the Hotshots with 25 points and 11 boards, but scored a measly point in the payoff period.
GINEBRA 89 — Slaughter 24, Tenorio 15, J. Aguilar 12, Cruz 12, Caguioa 7, Ferrer 7, Thompson 6, Mariano 4, Taha 2, R. Aguilar 0, Manuel 0
MAGNOLIA 78 — Sangalang 25, Lee 16, Simon 15, Pingris 6, Barroca 4, Dela Rosa 4, Gamalinda 4, Herndon 2, Melton 2, Ramos 0, Brondial 0, Pascual 0
Quarterscores: 22-17, 48-37, 66-60, 89-78