Marc Pingris and James Yap switched roles for B-Meg as the Llamados repulsed sister team Barangay Ginebra, 82-70, on Sunday at the packed Smart Araneta Coliseum to boost their chances of making the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.
Known more for his defense, Pingris delivered on offense while the squad’s top local scorer Yap anchored the defense to lead the Llamados to their ninth win in 13 games, just a half game behind league-leading Rain or Shine. The Kings now have an 8-5 mark.
The Llamados are now assured of a playoff for a finals berth. The best both Ginebra and idle Talk 'N Text can do is match B-Meg's nine wins at the end of the semifinals.
Pingris pumped in a personal conference-high of 24 points, adding 13 rebounds and four assists to emerge as the unlikely source of points for the Llamados.
But Llamados coach Tim Cone believed that it was defense that propelled his team to the victory.
“I think the biggest key was we refreshed our commitment to defense,” said Cone, whose wards limited the Kings to one of their lowest outputs of the season.
Yap relished the defensive challenge as he did a stellar job against the Kings’ Mark Caguioa, who missed all his 12 field-goal attempts and scored all of his three points from the charity stripe.
“He really sacrificed his offense to be a committed defender on Caguioa,” Cone said of Yap, who finished with 11 markers.
After the Llamados stunning 101-104 loss to already eliminated Meralco last Friday, Cone kept his players fresh by foregoing practice the next day and letting the players stay in the video room.
The Llamados led the Kings through the first two quarters before the Kings made a run and took the lead, 43-42, after Cedric Bozeman’s two charities halfway through the third quarter.
Pingris then spearheaded a B-Meg onslaught, scoring 11 in the third to help his squad regain a double-digit lead, 62-51, entering the fourth.
The Llamados kept the Kings at bay in the fourth, maintaining a distance of no less than eight points.
Bozeman tallied 22 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Kings, whose four-game winning streak was snapped.
B-MEG 82 - Pingris 24, Blakely 17, Yap 11, Reavis 11, Urbiztondo 9, Simon 4, De Ocampo 4, Villanueva 2, Barroca 0.
GINEBRA 70 - Bozeman 22, Helterbrand 16, Raymundo 14, Mamaril 4, Cortez 4, Caguioa 3, Maierhofer 2, W. Wilson 2, Hatfield 2, Villanueva 1, Maliksi 0, Ababou 0, Canaleta 0, Menk 0.
Quarterscores: 19-16; 32-25; 62-51; 82-70.