Players from the remaining four contending teams in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals got some much needed two-week break as the league took some time off for the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
However, the core members of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel were not given such luxury, as coach Tim Cone was tasked to steer the flag in the biennial meet and brought along his faithful wards Japeth Aguilar, Greg Slaughter, LA Tenorio, and Stanley Pringle, while Scottie Thompson, Art dela Cruz, and Justin Brownlee offered their services during practices.
Ginebra thrust right back into action in Game 1 of their best-of-five semis tiff against the dangerous NorthPort Batang Pier, who were coming out of their upset victory over the number 1 seed NLEX Road Warriors in the prelims.
They got outplayed by the Batang Pier’s fresher legs from the get-go, surrendering a 90-124 decision to the eight-seed team.
Ginebra’s best scorer, Pringle, still managed to produce 21 points in 33 minutes of play, but he only shot 31 percent from the field (6-for-19) and missed six of his 10 attempts from beyond the arc (40 percent). He also grabbed seven boards and had one assist.
Pringle was the only one from the SEA Games group to reach double figures, as Japeth Aguilar only put up eight points (4-for-9 FG) to go along with six rebounds, three assists, and six blocks in over 29 minutes.
Still recovering from a dislocated thumb, Aguilar’s fellow twin tower Slaughter only played 10 minutes and finished with four points after going 1-for-4 from the field.
The 35-year-old Tenorio was the one who struggled the most, as he played 33 minutes but could only muster three markers on 1-of-7 shooting, while collecting three rebounds and five dimes. ‘El Tinyente’ only made one of his five tries from downtown.
NorthPort’s Christian Standhardinger, who also suited up for Gilas Pilpinas, also showed some wear-and-tear last night but still came up with a productive outing. The Filipino-German bruiser tallied 16 points (5-15 FG) to go along with 15 rebounds and six assists.
Game 2 takes place at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Monday, December 16.