Ginebra overcame NLEX’s red-hot shooting from downtown in the first half to run away with a 105-96 win in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena in Pampanga.
Five players scored in double figures for the Gin Kings, who had to labor back from an 18-point second quarter defict to collect their third straight victory while keeping their bid for a twice-to-beat berth in play.
NLEX took advantage of Ginebra’ slow rotations in the first half to bury 12 first half threes, with a trey from JP Erram giving them a 42-24 advantage at the 8:24 mark.
After that, Ginebra buckled down to work and slowly crept back.
A 22-9 run to cap off the first half seemed to do the trick, cutting the Road Warriors’ lead to just 51-46 at the break. Later in the third, Scottie Thompson capped off an 11-2 burst to finally put Ginebra on top, 57-56.
Ginebra continued to go on the offensive in the payoff period, rallying behind Aguilar, Thompson and their stifling defnese to bring them home.
With NLEX’s guns staying silent after a torrid start, the Gin Kings were able to pull away as an Aguilar reverse finish with 1:13 left in the game served as the finishing touches.
Aguilar led all scorers with 27 points and nine rebounds, while LA Tenorio added 17 markers. Thompson, Greg Slaughter and Kevin Ferrer also pitched in 14 each.
Thompson narrowly missed a triple-double after tallying eight rebounds and eight assists for Ginebra, who will have to sweep both Meralco and NorthPort in their final two games to have a clearer shot at the No. 2 spot.
NLEX, on the other hand, saw Erram’s 16 points, eight boards, three blocks and two steals go down the drain as they slid to 4-6 in the standings.
The Road Warriors got off to great start behind JR Quinahan, who drained four of the team’s eight first quarter threes — including three straight to open the game with a 9-2 lead — en route to a 30-19 cushion after 12 minutes.
Although its offense ran out of steam and leveled off in the second half, NLEX still shot a blistering 18-of-46 (39 percent) from long range, with 10 of 12 players fielded sinking at least one in the game.
GINEBRA (105) – Aguilar 27, Tenorio 17, Slaughter 14, Thompson 14, Ferrer 14, Chan 7, dela Cruz 7, Mariano 4, Mercado 1, Cruz 0, Caperal 0.
NLEX (96) – Erram 16, Quinahan 15, Tiongson 12, Galanza 12, Ighalo 8, Tallo 8, Paniamogan 8, Magat 6, Lao 5, Taulava 3, Soyud 6, Baguio 0.