Photo by PBA Images
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Barangay Ginebra claimed the 3rd semifinals seat of the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup following a 99-91 win over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in Game 2 their best-of-3 quarterfinals clash at the Araneta Coliseum Wednesday, March 7.
Japeth Aguilar finished with 27 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks to help the Gin Kings dispatch the E-Painters via sweep.
Rain or Shine has never beaten Ginebra this season after a 92-100 loss in the elimination round and a 80-88 defeat in Game 1.
Jervy Cruz added 18 points and 7 rebounds and LA Tenorio chipped in 17 points and 3 assists in the win while Sol Mercado made his presence felt with 10 points, 6 rebounds 6 assists for Ginebra.
Scottie Thompson chalked up 9 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and two blocks.
The Gin Kings led by only 3 points, 92-89, before back-to-back Aguilar and Joe Devance buckets put them ahead by 7 points, 96-89, with less than a minute left.
Rain or Shine narrowed the gap to 5 points but it couldn't find the bottom of the net in the final 30 seconds as Beau Belga, Maverick Ahanmisi and Gabe Norwood all missed their 3-point attempts.
"It’s always a big relief to get through the quarters. To me, it's the hardest series to win, the quarter series. Just because there’s so much pressure on you to make the semis all the time, so that really builds hard and I think that the quarters really is, through my career, the hardest series to win," said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone.
It was a seesaw battle throughout with both teams exchanging leads every after quarters.
Ginebra held a 28-19 advantage after the first quarter before the E-Painters took the upper hand after outscoring the Gin Kings in the second period 27-15 thanks to Maverick Ahanmisi' 12 points.
Ahanmisi paced the E-Painters with 18 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
Raymond Almazan had 14 points and 13 rebounds while Ed Daquioag also had 14 points in the loss.
Ginebra will face the San Miguel Beermen in what is foreseen as a blockbuster best-of-7 semifinals series.
Ginebra (99): Aguilar 27, Cruz 18, Tenorio 17, Mercado 10, Devance 10, Thompson 9, Ferrer 6, Taha 2, Manuel 0
Rain or Shine (91): Ahanmisi 18, Daquioag 14, Almazan 14, Belga 13, Nambatac 8, Norwood 7, Ponferada 7, Washington 5, Onwubere 3, Borboran 2
Quarter scores: 28-19; 43-46; 77-72; 99-91
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.