Barangay Ginebra stepped on the gas in the second half and never looked back to drop Meralco, 86-76, and guarantee themselves a top-three finish in the elimination round of the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Ginebra led by just a solitary point, 35-34, at the half before unleashing torrid 12-0 burst midway through the third period behind LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar to erect a 51-39 lead.
They later had enough in their tank in the fourth quarter to deny any Meralco comeback. The Bolts pulled themselves to within six, 73-79, after Trevis Jackson converted on an and-1 opportunity, but a Scottie Thompson finish at the rim and a jumper by Slaughter officially shut the door on Meralco, who finished the eliminations with a 3-8 record.
Slaughter led the Gin Kings with 18 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, while Japeth Aguilar tallied 12 markers and eight boards. Jeff Chan and Kevin Ferrer aded 11 apiece.
Ginebra improved to 7-3 and has one game left against NorthPort on April 3, but the team will still finish ahead of TNT and San Miguel, who both hold 7-4 cards in the standings, regardless of the result of its final elimination game.
Trevis Jackson drew the start and put up 18 points and four assists for the Bolts, whose dwindling playoff hopes already faded even before tip-off due to NorthPort’s win against Alaska earlier.