PBA Commissioner’s Cup

Ginebra secures twice-to-beat Comm’s Cup slot, escapes NLEX in Albay thriller

JR Isaga

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Ginebra secures twice-to-beat Comm’s Cup slot, escapes NLEX in Albay thriller

CLUTCH. Ginebra import Tony Bishop attempts a layup over the NLEX defense in the 2024 PBA Commissioner's Cup

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Import Tony Bishop drains a clutch three as Ginebra rallies from an 11-point, third-quarter deficit against NLEX to lock a twice-to-beat playoff berth in Legazpi, Albay

MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra took its “never say die” attitude to the jam-packed Ibalong Centrum for Recreation in Legazpi, Albay, forging a 103-99 escape of the NLEX Road Warriors to clinch a twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs on Saturday, January 13.

Digging back out of an 11-point hole, 68-79, midway through the third quarter, the Gin Kings started the payoff period capping a 12-3 run off a Nards Pinto triple to get back within a single possession, 80-82, at the 11:10 mark.

From there, both squads engaged in a nip-and-tuck showdown as Ginebra entered clutch time clinging to a 98-97 lead after an Anthony Semerad triple for NLEX with 1:42 to play.

Import Tony Bishop, however, gave the crowd favorite Gin Kings a crucial 4-point cushion after isolating and draining a contested three with 1:07 left in regulation, eventually finishing with a game-high 27 points on 12-of-16 shooting.

Ginebra then played the clock game to its favor as NLEX only managed a Deandre Williams-Baldwin dunk at the 11-second mark to get within two, 99-101, before veteran Stanley Pringle set the final score off free throws from a duty foul with 5 ticks left.

Christian Standhardinger and Jamie Malonzo backstopped Bishop with 18 and 16 points, respectively, as Pringle scored 13.

With the win, Ginebra finishes with an 8-3 record in a three-way tie at third place. San Miguel claims the third seed due to a superior quotient and at the same time pushes inferior Meralco out of the twice-to-beat race.

NLEX, at 4-7, now hopes TNT (4-6) loses its last game against Phoenix (8-2) on Sunday, January 14, so it regains its chance at a quarterfinals spot through the eighth-seed playoff.

In the losing effort, Williams-Baldwin tied Bishop with a game-high 27 points, albeit on just an 11-of-28 clip, while star recruit Robert Bolick made up for a 1-of-8 shooting night with a near triple-double of 10 points on 8-of-9 free throws, 11 assists, and 8 rebounds.

The Scores

Ginebra 103 – Bishop 27, Standhardinger 18, Malonzo 16, Ahanmisi 13, Pringle 13, J.Aguilar 6, Thompson 4, Pinto 3, Pessumal 3, Tenorio 0.

NLEX 99 – Williams-Baldwin 27, Valdez 17, Nermal 15, Semerad 14, Anthony 12, Bolick 8, Rodger 4, Miranda 0.

Quarters: 31-23, 53-54, 77-82, 103-99.

– Rappler.com

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