Barangay Ginebra had to weather a furious retaliation by Blackwater before walking away with the 109-100 win to finally put an end to its four-game slump in the 2022 PBA Governors’ Cup, Friday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Japeth Aguilar hammered the nail in the coffin through a turnaround jumper with 24.7 seconds left as the defending champs averted a major collapse after seeing their 31-point lead get trimmed down to just seven.
By ending their worst skid under Tim Cone, the reigning champs have improved to 4-4, creating a three-way tie at sixth with TNT and Phoenix in the standings.
“We’re trying not to focus too much on the four losses,” said the decorated mentor. “There’s nothing we can do about those four losses except just try to learn from them. I thought today, we came out, played a much better game.”
However, there remained a lot to be desired for Cone with the way his charges played in the fourth quarter that led to their foes’ uprising.
Well, the Gin Kings started off hot and went on to establish an 81-50 lead approaching the halfway point of the third quarter. But they failed to keep control of which when JVee Casio and Shawn Glover went to work.
The duo spearheaded the Bossing’s rally, with the import sinking a lay-up to chop the deficit, 105-98, with 1:33 remaining in the game.
And the door for them to get even closer got opened when Scottie Thompson was caught stepping on the line at the left corner.
Casio, though, missed his triple with 1:05 to go. And things started to become gloomy over at Blackwater when he was called for his sixth and last foul after trying to get the ball away from Thompson, who got his miss.
Glover still tried to trigger one last push through his free throws to cut the deficit to seven again, but Aguilar struck the dagger. Thompson then stole Baser Amer’s inbound pass, and Ginebra ran down the clock to seal the win.
“I’m disappointed with our fourth quarter,” said Cone. “We made the game more exciting than it needed to be. And our guys coming off the bench didn’t get control of the game like we hoped early in the fourth quarter.
“And that put the pressure on the starters to come back and kinda save them. Our bench needs to do a better job of keeping the game going,” he continued.
Justin Brownlee finished with 25 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. Aguilar made 18 points and eight boards, as Scottie Thompson flirted with a triple-double with 16 markers, nine caroms, and eight dimes.
LA Tenorio supplied 14 points and nine assists, while Christian Standharinger added 13 in the win that saw Ginebra dish a total of 33 assists.
The Barangay will look to put together a streak when it battles the 11th-ranked Terrafirma (2-6) on Sunday at 4 p.m. still in Antipolo.
Glover, meanwhile, led Blackwater with 29 points and six rebounds in the defeat that extended their league record skid to 27.
Casio provided 27 points on eight triples in easily his best performance for the Bossing, who’s now out of playoff contention as they are 0-8 in the conference. Barkley Ebona and Baser Amer chimed in 10 markers apiece.
Blackwater still has three games left in the tilt, beginning with NorthPort on Wednesday, March 2, 3 p.m. at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Ginebra 109 – Brownlee 25, Aguilar 18, Thompson 16, Tenorio 14, Standhardinger 13, Onwubere 9, Tolentino 7, Chan 6, Caperal 1, Ayaay 0, Enriquez 0.
Blackwater 100 – Glover 29, Casio 27, Ebona 10, Amer 10, Desiderio 7, McCarthy 5, Suerte 4, Ayonayon 2, Nabong 2, Baloria 2, Amboludto 1, Escoto 1, Melton 0, Washington 0, Escoto 0, Paras 0.
Quarterscores: 37-20, 63-41, 89-64, 109-100.
The second game of each playdate is also livestreamed on SMART Sports.