The next stage has been set. The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel are moving on in the playoffs, after shutting down the feisty and fiery GlobalPort Batang Pier, 95-78, Friday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
GlobalPort enjoyed a hot start in the first quarter care of Terrence Romeo, who scored the Batang Pier’s first seven points to take a 7-2 edge in the opening minutes. Romeo’s 12 points in the quarter powered the trigger-happy Batang Pier to a 23-15 lead at the end of the quarter.
The Batang Pier held on to the narrow lead for most of the early second quarter, with Ginebra staying just within striking distance. A pull-up trey from Joseph Yeo forced the first deadlock of the game at 27-27, with less than eight minutes on the clock. A split free-throw charity from Greg Slaughter less than a minute later gave Ginebra their first taste of the lead, 28-27. A 16-2 run in the last six minutes of the quarter saw Ginebra build a 49-35 lead to end the half, denying GlobalPort a single point for almost six whole minutes before Stanley Pringle was able to put an end to the cold spell with a layup that beat the clock.
The Gin Kings’ salvo returned early in the third quarter, with the Gin Kings leading by as many as 21, 56-35, in the first two minutes of the second half. GlobalPort however soon showed signs of life, embarking on a 9-2 run to trim the lead to 14, 58-44 at the 7:44 mark of the quarter. Ginebra pulled together to douse the fire, and three minutes later led by 23, 69-46. After surviving another late resurgence from GlobalPort, Ginebra exited the quarter with a 74-58 lead.
Ginebra continued to hold on to the double-digit lead well into the final quarter despite hot shooting from the Batang Pier, sinking one for every basket scored by the league’s most youthful squad to deny them the much needed rallying call. Entering the final two minutes, the crowd favorites still led by an unassailable 95-74. They held on for the 95-78 win.
Japeth Aguilar led the charge for Ginebra with 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 blocks. GlobalPort’s backcourt duo of Stanley Pringle and Terrence Romeo had 26 and 21 points apiece.
Ginebra will be facing the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters, who prevailed over the Barako Bull Energy Cola earlier today, in a knockout match for one of the two remaining semifinals slots.
*Photo by Nuki Sabio of PBA Images
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