Barangay Ginebra came from behind to disappoint Phoenix Super LPG, 94-87, to snap its two-game funk in the 2021 Honda PBA Philippine Cup, Wednesday evening at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Stanley Pringle finished with 31 points, while LA Tenorio bounced back from a scoreless outing versus TNT and had 23 as the two connived in the endgame to help the defending champs complete the comeback from 19 down.
By keeping the Fuel Masters from extending their winning streak to three, the Gin Kings have improved to 4-5 and gained a share of the seventh spot in the standings with NLEX — indeed good news for their playoff bid.
“It was a big game. We needed that, obviously — not just moving up to the standings, but to create something positive. Have a positive feeling around the team,” said head coach Tim Cone post-game.
Ginebra was without top big man Japeth Aguilar due to an MCL sprain he suffered versus the Tropang Giga, and his absence was truly felt as his teammates went down 14-33 before the first quarter ended.
Phoenix remained ahead after that and was even up 11 with 10:57 remaining in the final frame. But that’s when the Barangay came back.
Christian Standhardinger sparked a 14-1 blitz that put Ginebra ahead for the first time since the first quarter, 83-81, with 5:48 to go. Matthew Wright tied it up immediately, though, setting up an exchange between the two teams.
Pringle, though, would give his side an 89-87 lead with 2:59 to spare, and they would never worry anymore since then as Tenorio buried a booming three-pointer to widen their lead to five with exactly a minute left to play.
Pringle then sank a right baseline jumper off a dime by Standhardinger with 31.8 seconds left to cap off the 7-0 spurt that closed the game out.
“It was a great comeback game. It was a game that our fans would have really loved,” Cone offered. “I was thinking when we were coming back to the game, ‘Wow, imagine what the fans would be doing right now. They’d be roaring.
“This is a typical Ginebra game. We battled,” added the league’s only 23-time champion mentor. “We came back and found a way to win. We really miss the fans. I really miss the fans and I wish they were here.”
Standhardinger had 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Scottie Thompson added 12 markers, 11 boards, an assist, a steal, and a block each in the win.
“I want to say the never-say-die attitude came out. I don’t like to own that because that’s not mine. That’s Sonny Jaworski’s. But still, it’s a Ginebra never-say-die and I thought we really showed that tonight,” Cone said.
Phoenix’s loss, meanwhile, wasted the efforts of Jason Perkins, who had 30 points on 59-percent shooting with eight rebounds.
Wright made 18 points, as RJ Jazul and Justin Chua added 15 and 12 points, respectively, in the defeat that dropped their card to 4-6.
The Fuel Masters did not have Vic Manuel in the second half after suffering a leg injury, the team announced via Twitter.
Both squads will return to action on Friday, September 17. Ginebra plays its penultimate game of the eliminations versus Alaska at 6:00 p.m., as Phoenix battles San Miguel in another must-win situation at 3:00 p.m.
Ginebra (94) – Pringle 31, Tenorio 23, Standhardinger 21, Thompson 12, Mariano 3, Tolentino 2, Dillinger 2, Devance 0, Caperal 0.
Phoenix Super LPG (87) – Perkins 30, Wright 18, Jazul 15, Chua 12, Calisaan 3, Melecio 3, Banchero 2, Pascual 2, Demusis 2, Muyang 0, Garcia 0, Manuel 0, Tamsi 0.
Quarterscores: 16-33, 46-52, 69-76, 94-87.