Johnson explodes again as Ginebra clinches first win

MANILA, Philippines - Barangay Ginebra San Miguel has one heck of an import at their disposal.

After going off for 50 and 46 points in his team’s first two games of the Governors’ Cup, Orlando Johnson put up 47 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to lead Ginebra past playing coach Manny Pacquiao and his KIA Carnival, 105-98, on Wednesday, May 13, at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Ginebra blew a 10-point lead in the third quarter and trailed late in the final period, but clutch shots by their import and veterans helped them regain advantage and eventually seal their first win of the conference. 

“It was a good win for us. We lost a 10-point lead in an instant, pero (but) we recovered. Good plays, good shots by our import and Mark Caguioa,” said Ginebra head coach Frankie Lim. 

“We’re just after our first win, regardless of sino yung kalaban namin doon (whoever our opponent was),” he later said, when asked if the presence of Pacquiao inspired his team to play better.

“I think it’s just the feeling of making ourselves feel good. Because these guys have been working so hard in my practices. I just wanted them to be rewarded with a win.”

Winning wasn’t easy against KIA, who was up 92-88 with 4:19 to go after a pair or free throws by LA Revilla who scored 16 of his 20 points in the final quarter. 

The Gin Kings later tied the match at 92-all thanks to a Caguioa jumper, and took a two-point lead after Johnson was fouled and hit two free throws. 

The game tied again at 97 following a 3-ball by Karl Dehesa with 1:24 remaining. After a turnover by Solomon Mercado, the Carnival had an opportunity to re-take the lead but Revilla’s floater went in and out.

With 45 seconds to go, Josh Urbiztondo – who was in the game instead of LA Tenorio – nailed a layup on the break off a Johnson pass. After KIA Asian import Jet Chang missed his fifth 3-pointer of the night, the Carnival fouled Johnson and the import sealed the win at the charity stripe.

Revilla had 6 markers and 5 rebounds in addition to his scoring output. 

“[He’s a] great point guard. Very smart, sees the floor very well and he makes good decisions in the end,” Lim complimented the playmaker.

The head coach also said that Urbiztondo’s ability to defend Revilla better was the reason he received playing time over Tenorio late in the contest.

Caguioa finished with 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting, while Urbiztondo put up 11 markers. 

KIA import Hamady N’Diaye registered 19 points, 25 rebounds, and 5 blocks. Dehesa pitched in 19 points and 4 triples in the win.

Lim said that Aguilar, who has missed all 3 of his team’s games this conference, is currently day-to-day.

“But I think he’s going to play soon,” the coach said. “Sooner than expected.”

Greg Slaughter, on the other hand, doesn’t have a timetable yet and will be evaluated by team doctors tomorrow. 

“I don’t know,” Lim responded when queried about his big man’s return. “I can’t answer that.”

Scores: 

GINEBRA (105): Johnson 47, Caguioa 16, Urbiztondo 11, Tenorio 10, Mercado 8, Tungalag 8, Brondial 3, Marcelo 2, Pena 0, Monfort 0, Helterbrand 0, Baracael 0.

KIA (98): Revilla 20, N'Diaye 19, Dehesa 19, Chang 10, Bagatsing 10, Nuyles 5, Ighalo 4, Alvarez 4, Thiele 3, Deutchman 2, Yee 2, Pascual 0.

Quarter Scores: 23-27, 49-42, 73-65, 105-98. 

– Rappler.com