Barangay Ginebra secured the eighth and final quarterfinal ticket in the PBA Philippine Cup after dispatching the Phoenix Fuel Masters in a do-or-die playoff match, 95-85, at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga on Saturday, September 25.
Prince Caperal led the way for the Gin Kings with 19 points, while Stanley Pringle delivered an all-around game of 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists as the defending champions set up a rematch of last year’s bubble finals against the top-seeded and twice-to-beat TNT Tropang Giga in the quarterfinals.
“Here we are, this isn’t what we expected. We didn’t expect to be in this kind of game coming into this thing, but you have a choice. You either keep going or you back off,” said Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
“Our guys decided to keep going and hopefully we’re going to take that attitude into our next game against TNT,” added the multi-titled PBA coach Cone, who extended his playoff streak to 31 straight appearances with tonight’s victory.
Coming off a two-game losing streak at the end of the elimination round, Ginebra, which played without its key starters Japeth Aguilar and Scottie Thompson, quickly built a double-digit advantage at halftime, 49-38.
The Fuel Masters, who also missed the services of their top big men Vic Manuel and Justin Chua, managed to trim the deficit to just 4, 50-54, early in the third period, but the Gin Kings went on another huge run to extend their lead to 14 points, 71-57, with three minutes to play in the quarter.
The Gin Kings never looked back in the final frame as they extended their lead to as many as 17 points, 88-71, which proved too big for the Fuel Masters to overcome with only six minutes left in the ball game.
Christian Standhardinger added 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Jared Dillinger contributed 13 points on a very efficient 5-of-7 shooting for Ginebra.
Jason Perkins topscored for Phoenix with 15 points, while Chris Banchero and Matthew Wright finished with 14 points apiece in the losing effort.
Ginebra 95 – Caperal 19, Pringle 17, Standhardinger 15, Dillinger 13, Tenorio 9, Mariano 8, Devance 8, Ayaay 4, Chan 2.
Phoenix 85 – Perkins 15, Banchero 14, Wright 14, Jazul 12, Pascual 11, Demusis 9, Muyang 5, Rios 3, Garcia 2, Melecio 0.
Quarters: 22-20, 49-38, 79-66, 95-85.