Crowd darling Barangay Ginebra’s young guns put on the finishing touches as the Kings whipped hapless Mahindra on Friday night 89-70 to get its 2017 PBA Philippine Cup title campaign back on track at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Athletic big man Japeth Aguilar pumped in a double-double performance of 15 points and 12 rebounds, but it was the Gin Kings’ young guns who delivered the killer blows over a Floodbuster side that clearly lacked strength and manpower on both ends.
Rookie Kevin Ferrer, getting extended minutes this time, drilled in 12 markers, spiked by two triples, while fellow rookies Jam Jamito and Jericho De Guzman also extended big helping hands in the Kings’ ferocious windup.
More importantly, their exploits helped Ginebra bounce back from an 84-91 loss dealt by GlobalPort over the weekend for an even 2-2 mark.
With their young turks chipping in, the Kings exploded for 34 points in the final frame, two more than their entire output in the first half where the Floodbuster proved a tough nut to crack collectively.
“The first half was certainly a struggle. I don’t want to call us like a diesel engine but it took us a long time to really get it going,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
“In the second half, we had some positives going. That gave us the chance to have some of the young guys playing extended minutes. I was hoping to do a lot more for tonight but Mahindra didn’t follow the script. They played us really, really tough really,” he added.
Veteran Mark Yee had 15 markers while former Ginebra forward Nico Salva added 11 points but the Floodbuster ran out of steam, trailing by as many as 28 to drop to 0-5. –Jerome Lagunzad
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GINEBRA 89 – Aguilar 15, Ellis 12, Ferrer 12, Mariano 9, Taha 8, Thompson 6, Devance 6, Mercado 6, Tenorio 5, Jamito 4, Marcelo 4, De Guzman 2, Cruz 0, Caguioa 0.
MAHINDRA 70 – Yee 15, Salva 11, Celda 9, Escoto 6, Mallari 6, Elorde 5, Eriobu 4, Teng 4, Arana 3, Revilla 3, Apinan 2, Paniamogan 2, Ballesteros 0, Digregorio 0, Webb 0.
Quarterscores: 14-13, 32-27, 55-47, 89-70