MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra ended a 3-game skid in a nailbiting 100-96 victory over the previously undefeated San Miguel Beermen in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, January 28.
Leading 97-87 with two minutes remaining, Ginebra looked like it had the upper hand for good until the Beermen scored an 8-1 blitz with 24 seconds left to make it a 3-point game, 95-98.
Japeth Aguilar then bricked his triple to give the possession back to San Miguel but Arwind Santos missed two straight triples that would have equalized the game for the Beermen.
Fortunately for the Beermen, Chico Lanete hauled down the offensive board and was fouled on the shooting motion.
However, it was Chris Ross who shot a free throw instead of Lanete, and in return, the Filipino-American was slapped a technical foul, leading to LA Tenorio burying the technical freebie that put the Gin Kings ahead by two possessions, 99-95.
Lanete then deliberately split his charities but the Beermen failed to secure the rebound and Ginebra got the win.
Tenorio finished with 23 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds while Aguilar added 23 points and 9 boards for Ginebra, which won its first game of the year to improve to a 3-3 card.
Greg Slaughter, who is nursing a hamstring injury, did not play but Jervy Cruz and Raymond Aguilar stepped up, scoring 17 and 16 points, respectively.
Ginebra trailed by as much as 16 points in the first half before turning its fortunes around in the 3rd quarter as it sparked a 22-2 run to gain a 68-61 lead.
"At the start of the game I thought, 'Wow, this is a mismatch.' First quarter, it looked like an absolute mismatch and we had no chance. But our guys dug in, made a run at halftime, carried that momentum in the second half. We got ahead and started believing. I think we forget how good of a team we can be," said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone.
June Mar Fajardo was magnificent with 33 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocks but that all went down the drain as the Beermen saw their 5-game winning streak come to a halt.
Marcio Lassiter and Ross combined for 32 markers and 15 boards for San Miguel, which dropped to 5-1 to tie the Magnolia Hotshots for first place.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.