MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra used a strong first half to turn back the Magnolia Hotshots, 86-75, in Game 1 of their best-of-three 2019 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, April 6.
Greg Slaughter led the balanced scoring effort with a 15-point, 12-rebound double-double as the Gin Kings moved within a win of a semifinal berth.
Art dela Cruz also continued his stellar play and chipped in 14 markers off the bench, including the game-sealing free throws in the clutch of the Manila Clasico opener.
After a neck-and-neck 1st quarter, Ginebra’s offense came alive in the 2nd and jumped out to a 17-point lead, 37-20, off a massive 20-2 run.
The Gin Kings then led by as many as 21, 52-31, off a Japeth Aguilar turnaround jumper in the 3rd quarter. The Hotshots made a small run to cut the gap to 13, but Slaughter doused their fire with a buzzer-beating putback for the 15-point lead, 62-47, heading to the final frame.
With good shot selection and scrappy defense, however, Magnolia managed to storm back within single digit, 72-81, in the final 1:50 of regulation after a huge Rodney Brondial triple.
Not letting up, the ever scrappy Scottie Thompson helped Ginebra regain an 11-point cushion, 84-73, off the and-one fastbreak layup at the last 1:17 of regulation. The Kings would then hold on down the stretch for the win and the crucial 1-0 lead.
Five players hit double-digits in scoring for the Hotshots, led by Paul Lee’s 15 points.
The series now shifts to the Araneta Coliseum for Game 2 on Monday, April 8, where the Kings look to complete a series sweep.
Ginebra 86 – Slaughter 15, Dela Cruz 13, Aguilar 12, Thompson 12, Tenorio 10, Ferrer 8, Chan 6, Mariano 4, Mercado 3, Caperal 2.
Magnolia 75 – Lee 15, Sangalang 14, Brondial 11, Melton 10, Ramos 10, Dela Rosa 6, Jalalon 4, Barroca 3, Reavis 2, Herndon 0.
Quarters: 17-18, 44-27, 62-47, 86-75.