PBA: Ginebra dispatches Barako Bull, solidifies hold of top spot

Jane Bracher
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel overcome a 10 pound deficit to begin the fourth quarter to earn a win over Barako Bull Energy Cola.

COMEBACK KINGS. LA Tenorio pulls down a rebound for Ginebra, who came back from 10 points down to win. Photo by Nuki Sabio/PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – In a team loaded with height, all it took for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel to turn things around was 8 minutes of playing time from a 5-6 Emman Monfort. 

Monfort provided the spark Ginebra needed to battle back from a 10-point deficit to start the fourth and pull away late from the Barako Bull Energy Cola to solidify their hold of the top spot, 90-83, in the PLDT myDSL Philippine Cup on Sunday, January 12 at the SMART Araneta Coliseum. 

“Naging aggressive kami nung pag-pasok ni Emman Monfort. Nag-start yung habol namin nung last quarter nung naging aggressive kami sa defense,” Ginebra head coach Ato Agustin said after the game. (We became aggressive when Emman Monfort came in. Our rally in the last quarter started when we became aggressive on defense.)

Upon entry into the match, Monfort kept clapping his hands in every play as if to wake up the rest of his teammates. He injected much needed life into Ginebra after the Kings squandered their first quarter 21-12 advantage as Barako Bull finally got a taste of the lead on a Mick Pennisi triple, 60-59, at the 4:05 mark of the third canto, and went on to build a 10-point lead to open the payoff period.

But a triple from Monfort at the 9:38 mark of the fourth sparked a 15-3 Ginebra run, which was capped by a Jayjay Helterbrand three-pointer to knot the game, 75-all, with 5:55 left. 

After which Ginebra began pulling away thanks to timely baskets from playmaker LA Tenorio and high-flying forward Chris Ellis. A lob from Ellis to Japeth Aguilar paved the way for an and-one play with 37 seconds remaining, which effectively closed the door on Barako Bull for good, 86-80. 

The perennial problem of Ginebra, however, cannot be denied. 

“Start ng game we were able to dictate the tempo but when they played zone defense, na-rattle kami. We’re not hitting our shots,” Agustin said. (At the start of the game we were able to dictate the tempo but when they played zone defense, we got rattled.)

He explained that Ginebra must simply hit their outside shots in order to counter the opponent’s zone defense that makes it difficult for the Kings’ big men to operate. 

For this game, Ginebra cashed in on 13 three-pointers, which resulted in Barako Bull’s defenders being drawn to the outside. 

“Kailangan namin ng more practice sa zone offense,” Agustin said. (We need more practice with our zone offense.)

Barako Bull also did well on the boards, out-rebounding a taller Ginebra, 56-53. The former also won on the offensive glass, 16-14. However, Ginebra still had more success converting offensive rebounds with 16 second-chance points and only 8 for Barako Bull. 

Ginebra now sits comfortably atop everybody else in the standings with a 10-2 slate. While Barako Bull slid to 5-8. – Rappler.com

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