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Barako Bull Energy escape Ginebra for share of top spot

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In a match that featured amazing defensive stops, Barako Bull came out on top with an escape over the still winless Barangay Ginebra squad, 69-68 at the Alonte Sports Complex in Biñan, Laguna.

Barako Bull started the match with their perimeter jumpers falling early. A three-pointer by JC Intal and a long two by Solomon Alabi helped the Energy build a 7-1 lead within the first three minutes. Barako Bull settled for a zone defense that was effective enough as the Kings’ long range shots did not hit the mark during the opening period.

Ginebra was limited to 12 first quarter points due to Barako Bull’s suffocating defense inside. However, the Energy were not far ahead with only 15 points as their shots were not really dropping in the opening frame.

The Kings opened up the second quarter with a 7-0 spurt as Greg Slaughter scored three baskets inside with Alabi resting on the bench. With Intal hitting another trey, Mark Caguioa provided instant offense off the bench with back-to-back floaters for Ginebra to give them a six-point lead.

The showcase of guard talent continued, with Chico Lanete delivering from the bench with two driving layup shots to pull the Energy within a single possession. Ginebra then used an 8-2 run in the closing moments of the second quarter to enter halftime up by six, 34-28.

The second half displayed the showdown between the two imports especially in the paint and in the rebounding battle. Intal’s shooting was still on target as he swished in two triples to keep up with Ginebra’s fast-paced tempo. After a heated exchange between Sol Mercado and Michael Dunigan, both were slapped with technical fouls. The third quarter ended in a deadlock, 50-50.

In the payoff period, Alabi continued his dominance on the low block as the Energy located him perfectly for back-to-back inside stabs to give themselves a four-point lead. Lanete once again penetrated and scored on a deuce plus a foul to give them a seemingly comfortable 67-59 lead with three minutes to play.

Looking to counter quickly with their guard-filled five late, Caguioa sunk a fast floater followed by a fastbreak layup after a steal by LA Tenorio to pull the Kings within four. With less than a minute to play, Joseph Yeo nailed in a booming triple to trim the lead to a solitary point.

In the ensuing play, Lanete missed his own version of a trey with less than ten ticks left in regulation. After a timeout, Yeo fired another triple but unfortunately for the Kings, he missed the shot.

The win propels Barako Bull to a 2-0 record while Ginebra drops to 0-2.

The scores:
Barako Bull 69 – Lanete 17, Intal 14, Alabi 13, Marcelo 11, Mercado 7, Garcia 5, Lastimosa 1, Pascual 1, Pena 0, Hubalde 0, Salvador 0, Wilson 0, Salva 0, Paredes 0, Sorongon 0.

Ginebra 68 – Slaughter 18, Dunigan 11, Caguioa 10, Baracael 8, Yeo 7, Urbiztondo 5, Tenorio 4, Mamaril 3, Aguilar 2, Monfort 0, Helterbrand 0, Ababou 0, Ellis 0, Brondial 0.
Quarter scores: 15-12, 28-34, 50-50, 69-68

Photo by Nuki Sabio

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