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Ginebra storms back from early deficit, overcomes NLEX to punch QF berth

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Tiebreaker Times Ginebra storms back from early deficit, overcomes NLEX to punch QF berth Basketball News PBA  Yeng Guiao Tim Cone Scottie Thompson Philip Paniamogan PBA Season 44 NLEX Road Warriors LA Tenorio Kevin Ferrer Juami Tiongson JR Quinahan JP Erram Japeth Aguilar Greg Slaughter Barangay Ginebra San Miguel 2019 PBA Philippine Cup
Photo from PBA Images

In a duel in front of Yeng Guiao’s compatriots, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel overcame the NLEX Road Warriors’ hot start, 105-96, to punch a ticket to the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals, Saturday evening at the Angeles University Foundation Arena in Pampanga.

The Gin Kings melted an 18-point deficit down before putting the Road Warriors away inside the final four minutes en route to their third straight win. They have hiked their card to 6-3, and kept their Top Two aspirations very much alive.

Japeth Aguilar showed up in front of his fellow Kapampangans, churning out 27 points on a 55-percent shooting clip alongside nine rebounds.

Scottie Thompson flirted with a triple-double with 14 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists. He also added a game-high four steals. Greg Slaughter and Kevin Ferrer produced 14 markers apiece, while LA Tenorio supplied 17 points.

At first, it seemed the Barangay had no answer to the Road Warriors’ hot shooting from downtown, as the latter buried eight triples in the first quarter alone. A Poy Erram trey buried Ginebra in a 42-24 deficit with 8:34 left in the second.

But Ginebra slowly chipped away the lead. Thompson’s lay-up off a beautiful spin move versus the defense of Bong Galanza gave them a 57-56 lead with 6:13 left in the third, which turned things into a tight battle.

NLEX then sent game into an 83-all deadlock with 8:36 to go in the final frame. That was the closest they could get, however, as Art Dela Cruz and Tenorio connived to give Ginebra an 88-83 lead moments later.

That cushion gave Ginebra enough breathing room and forced NLEX to play catch-up. The door would close on the Road Warriors when Aljon Mariano and Aguilar made six straight for a 100-92 lead with 1:12 left to play.

Erram had 16 points and eight rebounds to lead the Road Warriors, who have dropped to 4-6, though they are still in the running for a quarters spot.

JR Quiñahan had 15 points – which all came from beyond the arc – along with seven rebounds and six assists. Meanwhile, guards Galanza and Juami Tiongson chimed in 12 markers apiece on a combined 10-of-24 shooting.

Ginebra will look to better their position versus rivals Meralco Bolts on March 27, Wednesday. On the other hand, NLEX will figure in a must-win situation versus Magnolia Hotshots on April 3. Both games are at SMART Araneta Coliseum.


The Scores:

Ginebra 105 – Aguilar 27, Tenorio 17, Thompson 14, Ferrer 14, Slaughter 14, Chan 7, Dela Cruz 7, Mariano 4, Mercado 1, Caperal 0

NLEX 96 – Erram 16, Quinahan 15, Tiongson 12, Galanza 12, Paniamogan 8, Ighalo 8, Tallo 8, Magat 6, Lao 5, Soyud 3, Taulava 3, Baguio 0

QuarterscoreS: 30-19, 51-46, 72-74, 96-105.

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