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    Ginebra stays perfect by holding off gritty stand by NorthPort

    Sep 5, 2018
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    BARANGAY Ginebra survived a gutsy stand by NorthPort, hacking out a 104-98 win for solo top spot in the PBA Governors Cup on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    The Kings nearly blew a 19-point spread early in the fourth quarter after the energized Batang Pier battled back behind returning top gun Stanley Pringle to make the game close down the stretch.

    Ginebra's third win in as many games wasn't in the bag until Japeth Aguilar scored the team's last six points to make it a six-point lead in the final 30 seconds.

    "Japeth hit some key shots down the stretch and that got us over the hump," said a relieved Tim Cone after the close call.

    "We're just kind of in survival mode to see if we can survive games at this point," added Cone after the Kings played their third game in six days. "We need to get a lot better than the way we're playing."

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    Aguilar scored 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, including six straight points that helped the Kings keep the rallying Batang Pier at bay.

    Justine Brownlee finished with 27 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists to show the way for Ginebra, which also got 18 points each from Greg Slaughter and LA Tenorio.

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    Scottie Thompson only had four points but grabbed 14 rebounds.

    There was also a big injury scare for Ginebra after Sean Anthony fell on the seven-footer Slaughter's feet during a rebound sequence.

    Cone said Slaughter appeared to be shaken but was fine nonetheless.

    "I didn't want him hobbling down the last two minutes of the game, coming up and down the floor, so i just decided to let him sit," he said of Slaughter, who also had nine rebounds.

    Pringle returned from his Asian Games stint to lead the Batang Pier with 34 big points on 5-of-10 shooting from three-point land, leading the team back from a 41-60 deficit.

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    NorthPort managed to trim the gap to just a point twice and threatened for the last time at 97-100 on a Pringle basket with 1:40 left.

    Import Rashad Woods had 26 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists, while Mo Tautuaa added 11 and 10 rebounds for NorthPort, which suffered its fourth straight loss that spoiled the birthday celebration of coach Pido Jarencio

    The scores:

    Barangay Ginebra (104) - Brownlee 27, Aguilar 23, Tenorio 18, Slaughter 18, Ferrer 6, Thompson 4, Mariano 4, Chan 2, Caguioa 2.

    NorthPort (98) - Pringle 34, Woods 28, Tautuaa 11, Anthony 9, Taha 6, Fortuna 5, Guinto 3, Grey 2, Espinas 0, Arana, Gabayni 0.

    Quarterscores: 33-15; 57-41; 79-73; 104-98

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    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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