MANILA, Philippines – Japeth Aguilar bucked off a listless first half while LA Tenorio had another all-around game as Ginebra came from behind to edge Alaska, 96-89, in the PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday, December 21, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
The high-flying forward asserted his aggressiveness in the second half, gaining several trips to the line to finish with 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks after scoring just 2 points in the first 24 minutes.
Ginebra squandered a 14-point lead early in the 2nd quarter, as Gabby Espinas and JVee Casio joined hands to give Alaska the 50-42 edge at the break.
A Casio basket gave the Aces their biggest lead at 52-43, but that was when Aguilar started to work. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 PBA Draft sank 10-of-14 free throws in the 3rd quarter alone, attacking the basket ferociously each time.
Ginebra then used a big rally bridging the 3rd and 4th periods to take back a double-digit edge at 82-71. Casio scored 8 points afterwards to pull the Aces to within 83-87 with just 2:31 left, but that proved to be their last hurrah as Aguilar and Chris Ellis sank the baskets that pushed Ginebra to safety.
LA Tenorio started hot in the first quarter with 10 points on an array of moves and finished what he started for 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists.
“We were able to adjust because maganda ang tinatakbo namin. Nung nag-transition ang Alaska, nag-panic kami. Nag-regroup kami ‘nung third quarter. Nakalamang kami dahil sa defense,” said Ginebra head coach Ato Agustin, whose squad limited Alaska to just 39 points in the second half. (We were able to adjust because we were running well. When Alaska went on transition, we panicked. We regrouped in the third quarter. We had the advantage because of defense.)
Casio tallied 27 points for the Aces while Sonny Thoss added 22 markers. However, Cyrus Baguio and Dondon Hontiveros, who accounted for 47 points in their last outing, combined for just 11 tonight.
Ginebra moved to 7-1 and will face Petron in a much-anticipated Christmas Day showdown. Meanwhile, Alaska dropped to 3-6. – with reports from Levi Verora/Rappler.com
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