Rain or Shine over GlobalPort, 106-96
The Best: How about Rain or Shine’s undersized but undaunted frontline? In this game, the trio of Jervy Cruz, Beau Belga, and Larry Rodriguez triumphantly led the Painters into the semifinals, combining for a total of 51 points and 22 rebounds. Belga, in particular, came up big, scoring 6 of his team’s last 8 points to ensure the Painters’ entry into the next round.
The Worst: The Batang Pier turned the ball over 7 more times than ROS. This resulted in a +9 advantage for the Painters in terms of points-off-turnovers. The trio of Terrence Romeo, Kelly Nabong and Sol Mercado were the chief culprits here, combining for 14 of GlobalPort’s 17 errors. Oh well, at least they’ll have some down time to practice and minimize those TOs for the future.
Great Gabe: After his hum-drum elimination round production, Gabe Norwood stepped up at a critical time, scoring 14 points on 4/9 FG shooting on top of 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. Gilas Pilipinas’ prime defensive stopper was practically everywhere in this one, and coach Yeng Guiao will definitely need the George Mason University alum to be at his best moving forward.
The Best: Three Alaska Aces finished with double-doubles. Against a team with Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar patrolling the interior, that’s pretty spectacular. Calvin Abueva had 16 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals in arguably his most impressive outing of the season yet. Sonny Thoss added 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 steals, while Gabby Espinas registered 12 markers and 11 boards.
The Worst: At times, this game featured Ginebra at its worst — leaving people too open, having too many creases in the defense, and not boxing out tough enough. Sure, losing by just 7 points implies the Gin Kings could’ve done much worse, but the flipside is, especially knowing how well they’ve played so far, they also could’ve done much much better.
Fire in the hole!: The Aces not only outworked the Kings, they also outshot them, and how! Super snipers Cyrus Baguio, Dondon Hontiveros, and JV Casio continuously hit the mark here, combining for 10/17 shooting from beyond the arc. All three guys totaled 52 points for coach Luigi Trillo, whose team won its third straight win-or-go-home affair. Should the Aces pull off another stunner in Game Two, then they will march on to the semifinals and send Ginebra’s promising campaign to a tragic end. – Rappler.com
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