BARANGAY Ginebra’s offense hummed like a well-oiled machine while 'Twin Towers' of Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter provided the defensive presence once more as the Gin Kings clobbered Rain or Shine, 97-84, in their PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup match on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Former league MVP Mark Caguioa bounced back from a sub-par season debut against San Mig Super Coffee by firing 22 points on a near-flawless 9-of-12 shooting, providing the scoring spark for Ginebra team that so far lived up to its lofty preseason billing after a major buildup.
Just as impressive were Aguilar and Slaughter who patrolled the lane on defense, controlled the boards and put in their own highlight plays to the delight of another big pro-Ginebra crowd at the Big Dome.
“Nanalo kami dahil maganda start namin. Yung energy namin nandun. Saka yung hustle, yung team effort, and one good thing namin, defense namin maganda din,” said coach Ato Agustin after Ginebra joined Petron Blaze and Barako Bull at the top of the standings on 2-0 win-loss cards.
Rain or Shine dropped to solo second place at 2-1.
The 6’9” Aguilar finished with a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Slaughter, this year’s top rookie pick overall, added 18, 13 boards and three blocks.
Agustin said he was happy to see his 6-11 rookie stand his ground against the physical plays of Rain or Shine’s big men.
“Ngayon mas lumalaban siya sa ilalim. 'Yun kasi tinuturo namin sa kanya, na kailangang niyang gumawa ng paraan para makakuha siya ng bola sa loob,” he said.
Veteran playmaker LA Tenorio had a field day orchestrating the plays en route to finishing with a near triple-double of 10 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, while adding five steals in 36 minutes of play.
Rain or Shine rallied from a 16-point third quarter deficit to close in at 62-64, but Ginebra’s firepower proved too much to handle in the end.
Ginebra 97 - Caguioa 22, Aguilar 19, Slaughter 18, Tenorio 10, Ellis 9, Helterbrand 6, Reyes 5, Ababou 3, Forrester 3, Baracael 2, Monfort 0, Mamaril 0.
Rain or Shine 84 - Arana 21, Chan 14, Cruz 11, Almazan 9, Belga 8, Nuyles 6, Lee 5, Rodriguez 4, Norwood 3, Quinahan 2, Ibanes 1, Tang 0, Teng 0.
Quarters: 29-19, 48-37, 68-62, 97-84