Photo from PBA Images
MANILA, Philippines – Led by a dominant performance from court general LA Tenorio, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel defeated the hapless NLEX Road Warriors, 90-80, and clinched a spot in the Philippine Cup playoffs on Sunday, January 29, at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.
Tenorio finished with 30 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists to lead the Gin Kings’ rally from down 8 after the first quarter and a 4-point halftime deficit. The win improved the record of Ginebra to 6-5 at the end of its elimination round campaign, good enough to make the quarterfinals.
Joe Devance also played well with 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists, while Sol Mercado and Scottie Thompson scored 13 and 11 points, respectively.
It’s uncertain yet which seed Ginebra will have, but the Gin Kings will likely land in seventh place, which means having to deal with a twice-to-beat disadvantage in the quarters.
“We’re just going to need a lot of great basketball from LA and Scottie and Joe and everyone else… to make a lot of noise in the playoffs,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone post-game.
Down 46-42 to open the second half, Ginebra responded with a 13-6 run capped off by jumpers from Tenorio and Devance to take the momentum.
Ginebra eventually increased the lead up to 15, 87-72, and held off NLEX’s late rally for the victory and make the playoffs a 29th consecutive time, which is the all-time league record.
In the franchise’s first conference under Yeng Guiao, NLEX finished with a league-worst 2-9 record. Kevin Alas and Enrico Villanueva led the Road Warriors with 14 points apiece.
Ginebra (90): Tenorio 30, Devance 19, Mercado 13, Thompson 11, Aguilar 7, Marcelo 4, Ellis 2, Taha 2, Cruz 2, Ferrer 0, Caguioa 0
NLEX (80): Alas 14, E. Villanueva 14, Guinto 10, Lanete 8, Lastimosa 7, J. Villanueva 7, Khobuntin 7, Taulava 6, Rios 5, Camson 2, Gotladera 0, Baracael 0
Quarter scores: 20-28, 42-46, 72-64, 90-80 – Rappler.com