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Comeback Kings: Thompson shines in fourth, Ginebra crawls back against NLEX



Down by as much as 22 in the third quarter, the “never say die” spirit of the Brgy. Ginebra Kings was in full display in the final stretch of a 91-90 escape over the NLEX Road Warriors on Sunday evening, held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The closely-contested first quarter ended with a 22-all score as the biggest lead of the quarter was three for NLEX. In addition, there were also five deadlocks in the first quarter just before NLEX took over the second period. The Road Warriors outscored the Kings by eight, 27-19, in the next period. Ginebra’s lead with nine minutes to go in the first half at 27-25 served to be the last taste of the advantage for the Kings as the next 12 minutes went the way of the Road Warriors.

Tenorio and Slaughter responded early on in the third period, as they countered Sean Anthony’s triple to make it a 52-46 game. However, in the next seven minutes, the Road Warriors put up a 23-7 scoring outburst the broke that game wide open. During the stretch, Ginebra struggled in taking care of their possessions, while a balanced-scoring output helped NLEX increase their lead. The Kings were able to slice six points off the big deficit as former Perpetual Altas guard Scottie Thompson ignited the run.

Despite missing early free throw shots in their first possessions, momentum slowly shifted towards Ginebra as Thompson hit another three, while also finding his teammates for scoring chances. By the 7:45 mark, Ginebra successfully broke the double-digit barrier with a Chris Ellis three pointer. Rattled by the awakened crowd, NLEX scored a quiet four points until the three minute mark of regulation, wherein the score was knotted at 87.

Afterwards, Jonas Villanueva broke the drought and deadlock with a big three pointer. In the ensuing possession, Jayjay Helterbrand shot a crucial basket while Taulava missed his two free throws. After two blank possession for both teams, Villanueva was thwarted by Slaughter that led to a transition play by Ginebra. Thompson got fouled and eventually sank the go-ahead free throws.

Greg Slaughter topped Ginebra with 18 points, 15 rebounds, and three blocks. Thompson finished with 14 markers, five rebounds, three assists, and the game-winning free throws. Taulava once again led NLEX in scoring with 21 markers on 9/16 shooting from the field, seven rebounds and two assists. Anthony chipped in 16 markers and eight boards.

Ginebra rounds up the single-round elimination phase on Sunday, Dec. 20, at the Mall of Asia Arena against Talk ‘N Text.

The Scores:
Ginebra (91) – Slaughter 18, Thompson 14, Aguilar 12, Ellis 11, Marcelo 10, Tenorio 7, Devance 6, Helterbrand 5, Cruz 4, Caguioa 4, Salva, 0, Mercado 0
NLEX(90) – Taulava 21, Anthony 16, Villanueva J.11, Lanete 9, Alas 8, Enciso 6, Camson 6, Khobuntin 6, Borboran 5, Ryes 0
Quarterscores: 22-22, 41-49, 59-75, 91-90