Barako Bull hangs on and sends Ginebra to second straight loss
MANILA, Philippines – The Barako Bull Energy Cola survived an endgame run from Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and hung on to a 69-68 win in the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday, February 1 at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna.
Chico Lanete was the brightest spot for Barako with his 17 points on 8-of-16 field goals, along with two assists, and 3 steals. The 35-year old guard, whose three-point play conversion gave Barako Bull a 67-59 advantage with a shade over 3 minutes left to play, also provided the hustle and energy on both sides of the ball.
Veteran JC Intal added 14 points, including 4 three-pointers, while import Solomon Alabi and Dave Marcelo contributed 13 and 11 markers, respectively.
Barako very nearly lost the game when Ginebra, who dropped its second straight game this conference following a loss to Meralco, showed a glimmer of its once prominent “Never Say Die” philosophy late in the game, as they climbed back from 6 points down within the final minute and 13 seconds to make it just a one-point affair.
Streaky guard Joseph Yeo orchestrated the 5-point swing from a 63-69 spread, putting the pressure on ball-handler Sol Mercado which resulted in a steal and a lay-up on the other end, 65-69, with under a minute reamining.
The former La Salle standout forced another stop again and swiped the ball from Mercado a second time, as LA Tenorio hesitated from the corner and instead dished out to Yeo for the huge three-pointer that notched the final tally with 39 seconds still on the clock.
Barako could have iced the game with a basket in the ensuing possession but came up empty owing to Ginebra’s pesky defense, leaving an exhausted Lanete to take an off-target triple.
Ginebra had a chance to complete their heart-racing comeback in the final 6.3 seconds after RR Garcia gave up the foul, but coach Koy Banal, known as a defensive coach, had his team ready as they forced Yeo to fire a hurried trey that just bounced off the back iron at the buzzer.
Big man Greg Slaughter kept Ginebra in the game for much of the third quarter when Barako made its rally with a game-high 18 points. While import Michael Dunigan settled for just 11 points as he was reportedly feeling under the weather with fever.
Mark Caguioa chipped in 10 points, as Ginebra started the game down by 7-1.
The Gin Kings with its comebacking coach Ato Agustin have yet to win this conference while the Energy get a share of the lead with a 2-0 slate.
Barako (69): Lanete 17, Intal 14, Alabi 13, Marcelo 11, Mercado 7, Garcia 5, Lastimosa 1, Pascual 1, Pena 0, Hubalde 0, Salvador 0, Wilson 0, Salva 0, Paredes 0, Sorongon 0.
Ginebra (68): Slaughter 18, Dunigan 11, Caguioa 10, Baracael 8, Yeo 7, Urbiztondo 5, Tenorio 4, Mamaril 3, Aguilar 2, Monfort 0, Helterbrand 0, Ababou 0, Ellis 0, Brondial 0.
Quarter scores: 15-12, 28-34, 50-50, 69-68.