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Ginebra gains quarters seat; hands Blackwater fifth straight setback in 2OT

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Regulation time was not enough, as two overtime periods were necessary to settle things in Pampanga, as the Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel survived the Blackwater Elites in a 102-94 joust, giving the Kings a quarter-final berth in the 2015-2016 Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup.

The Kings relied on their front-court men to push them to an early lead in the match. On the other hand, Blackwater trailed by as much as eight but were able to limit Ginebra to a lone shot in the last two minutes of the first. Ginebra only attempted four tries from downtown in the first quarter, but their Atenean center Greg Slaughter inked eight fast points to give his squad a 27-22 lead.

The Elites had managed to tie the match a couple of times, seven minutes into the second frame. During the stretch, it was their second unit players who established the run, led by Art Dela Cruz and sniping from Raphy Reyes. Notwithstanding LA Tenorio’s 12-point first half exertion, the Elites gathered momentum to claim a four-point cushion at the break. In addition, Ginebra struggled in the last 4 ½ minutes of the first half, as the team only scored two points.

The Kings took the third quarter as they woke up the crowd when they out-scored Blackwater, 23-15. Elite center JP Erram had his hands full against Ginebra’s big men as he fouled out with 3:12 remaining in the 3rd quarter. The Kings’ transition game took full swing with a 12-point turnaround in the middle of the quarter to give them a 54-48 cushion.

Fast-forward to the final stretch of regulation, Blackwater erased a 10-point disadvantage with seven minutes to go as Reil Cervantes scored nine of his team’s next 13 points. There were anxious moments for the Kings as they lost their grip late, and a basket by Ballestero tied the game at 84 with 45 ticks left. After Scottie Thompson travelled on the next play, Ballesteros flubbed two potential lead-giving free throws that pushed the game to an extension.

Aguilar and Slaughter led the charge in overtime as they maintained a slight edge after the Elites had taken the lead first. A three-point play by Slaughter gave Ginebra a 92-90 lead, but Blackwater levelled again courtesy of a basket by Canada. After another turnover by the Kings, Dela Cruz missed a three-pointer for the second extension. In the last five minutes of the game, LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson drained two huge three-balls to extend the lead to 100-94. The crucial baskets put the nail in the coffin as the Elites were unable to make one last run en route to the Ginebra victory.

Greg Slaughter played for 48 minutes and finished with 35 points on 15/21 shooting from the field, 15 rebounds, and two rejections. His partner Japeth Aguilar also stuffed the stat sheet with 25 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three blocks, and a steal. For the skidding Elites, five players tallied double figures in scoring, led by Reil Cervantes’ 13 markers off the bench. Dela Cruz chipped in 11.

Blackwater’s next game will be on Dec. 11, against the Barako Bull Energy Cola. As for Ginebra, they will face the NLEX Road Warriors next on Dec. 13 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The scores:

Brgy. Ginebra (102) – Slaughter 35, Aguilar 25, Tenorio 19, Thompson 9, Ellis 4, Caguioa 4, Cruz 4, Devance 2, Mercado 0, Salva 0, Villamor 0

Blackwater (94) – Cervantes 13, Dela Cruz 11, Lastimosa 10, Erram 10, Gamalinda 10, Canada 9, Cortez 8, Ballesteros 8, Reyes 6, Sena 4, Agovida 3, Golla 2

Quarterscores: 27-15, 42-46, 65-61, 84-84, 92-92, 102-94

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