SMART CLARK GIGA CITY – Barangay Ginebra outlasted TNT in overtime, 100-94, to take Game One of the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup Finals, Sunday night at the SMART 5G-powered AUF Sports and Cultural Center.
Heroes were aplenty as Japeth Aguilar, Stanley Pringle, LA Tenorio, Arvin Tolentino, and Aljon Mariano all came through at the most crucial of moments to help the Gin Kings gain the early edge in the best-of-seven affair.
“We had a lot of contributions and that is how it is going to have to be when we play this team — no one person is going to beat Talk N Text, it is going to be a team,” said head coach Tim Cone post-game.
The Barangay was actually staring at a 92-90 deficit with 12.2 seconds to go in the fourth quarter but Tolentino tied it at 92-all with five ticks left following a lay-up off a Tenorio find, eventually sending the game to OT.
Pringle then broke the deadlock barely a minute into the extra period through his floater off a drive, before dishing it off to a rolling Aguilar to make it a 96-92 advantage for Ginebra with 3:26 on the clock.
Roger Pogoy responded with a close-range jumper on the other end but Tenorio once again dropped a dime, this time to a cutting Aljon Mariano that inflated the lead back to four, 98-94, with less than a minute remaining.
The Tropang Giga tried to fight back once more but to no avail. Tenorio then set up Aguilar for a two-handed slam with 19.6 seconds to play, delivering the final blow to knock the opposition out once and for all.
“I remember saying to the team as we were going into a timeout, I yelled at them, ‘That is how you beat a team.’ Everybody is contributing. Japeth was rolling hard getting into the rim, making easy passes for LA to give. It was really a great team effort,” Cone said. “Arvin played really well, had that big basket to tie the game. He did a beautiful cut to the rim.”
Aguilar finished with a game-high 25 points on 11-of-14 shooting from the field, alongside 16 rebounds to lead Ginebra. Pringle, despite being guarded heavily, wounded up with 24 points, seven boards, and seven assists.
Scottie Thompson posted 15 points, nine caroms, and five dimes. Tolentino made 14 points, and Tenorio produced 12 markers and 10 dimes with five rebounds as all starters finished in double figures.
“Coming from the games we just played a couple of nights ago, it was an amazing effort by both teams tonight,” said Cone as Ginebra and TNT are both fresh from their winner-take-all semis battles just last Friday.
Ray Parks led TNT with 20 points, five steals, four rebounds, four assists, and two blocks although he fouled out with 31.1 seconds left in OT. Roger Pogoy made 19 points on 7-of-17 shooting with six boards.
Veteran big man Jay Washington finished with 14 points, including the back-to-back three-pointers that highlighted a 9-0 run late in the fourth that gave the Tropang Giga a 91-90 lead with 36.6 seconds to go.
Jayson Castro had 12 points and five assists while Poy Erram chipped in 10 and 10 in the defeat that saw TNT get outrebounded, 41-60 — the team averaged 52.8 boards in its semis clash versus Phoenix Super LPG.
Game Two is on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 6:00 p.m.
Ginebra (100) – Aguilar 25, Pringle 24, Thompson 15, Tolentino 14, Tenorio 12, Mariano 6, Chan 2, Devance 2, Caperal 0.
TNT (94) – Parks 20, Pogoy 19, Washington 14, Castro 12, Erram 10, Enciso 9,Rosario 8, Semerad 2, Montalbo 0, Reyes 0.
Quarterscores: 22-27, 41-41, 66-71, 92-92, 100-94.