An Art Dela Cruz powered-Barangay Ginebra San Miguel bested rivals Magnolia Hotshots, 86-75, in Game One of their quarterfinal battle. The Gin Kings move just a win away from reaching the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals, Saturday night at SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
“This doesn’t guarantee us anything. But the first game of a short series is always important, because you do get that quick advantage,” pointed out Ginebra head coach Tim Cone. “Being up 1-0 is nice, but certainly not comfortable, and we’re gonna see if we can bring it again.”
Greg Slaughter captained the Barangay with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Art Dela Cruz played his best game for the crowd darlings with 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field on top of three boards, two assists, and a steal.
Japeth Aguilar and Scottie Thompson had 12 markers apiece and combined for a total of 19 rebounds. They also had three blocked shots apiece.
The Gin Kings imposed their control of the match in the second quarter, unloading a massive 20-2 blitzkrieg en route to a commanding 37-20 advantage. Their lead would then grow to as big as 21 points, 52-31, in the third quarter.
Magnolia still put up a fight afterward, however. They closed to within nine a handful of times late in the game, but Dela Cruz’ perfect trip to the charity stripe with 46.9 ticks left sealed the deal and settled the final count.
“That team just doesn’t go away … We defended very well, but that team just doesn’t go away. I was nervous all the way up to the last forty seconds, when I finally felt that we won it,” expressed the decorated Cone.
Paul Lee led Magnolia with 15 points. Ian Sangalang had 14 points and eight rebounds, while Rodney Brondial finished with 11 points and nine rebounds. Aldrech Ramos and Justin Melton contributed 10 markers apiece.
Ginebra will look to close the series in Game Two on Monday, April 8.
Ginebra 86 – Slaughter 15, Dela Cruz 14, Aguilar 12, Thompson 12, Tenorio 10, Ferrer 8, Chan 6, Mariano 4, Mercado 3, Caperal 2.
Magnolia 75 – Lee 15, Sangalang 14, Brondial 11, Melton 10, Ramos 10, Dela Rosa 6, Jalalon 4, Barroca 3, Reavis 2, Herndon 0.
Quarterscores: 17-18, 44-27, 62-47, 86-75.