Leading by as many as 16 during the third period, the Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel lost grip of the lead but managed to prevail over the Purefoods Star Hotshots, 96-87, to spoil the return of Denzel Bowles at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday.
The bigs of Ginebra did the damage offensively, led by import Michael Dunigan and Greg Slaughter underneath. With Emman Monfort calling out the plays, the pick-and-roll offense worked wonders together with the transition offense for Ginebra as they took the lead for almost 42 minutes of action, poised to cruise through the game.
However, Purefoods took advantage of their import early on in the fourth period. The offense often went into the hands of the returning Bowles to deliver the goods inside or kick out to a wide open Hotshot.
With the Kings leading 76-69, Purefoods rallied with a 9-2 run to tie things up at 78, including back-to-back triples from Joe Devance. Quick to respond were the Kings as Dunigan converted on two free throws, Mark Caguioa dived in with a floater, and Monfort hit on a pull-up jumper to separate themselves again.
Both imports muscled their way inside and exchanged baskets, but Ginebra still took the lead and momentum at that point. With another seven-point lead by the Kings, Bowles muffed two free throws that hurt the chances of a Purefoods comeback. LA Tenorio cemented the victory with a layup, thinking of the quotient system in effect.
The win gives Ginebra a 3-3 record as Purefoods slides to 4-3. The Star Hotshots are now losers of three straight ball games.
GINEBRA 96 – Dunigan 22, Slaughter 19, Tenorio 16, Aguilar 10, Baracael 10, Monfort 9, Caguioa 7, Yeo 3, Ababou 0.
PUREFOODS 87 – Bowles 31, Simon 14, Barroca 14, Devance 14, Mallari 6, Pingris 6, Taha 2, Melton 0, Reavis 0, Pennisi 0.
Quarters: 20-16, 45-38, 70-56, 96-87