Kings surge past Energy; Batang Pier near playoffs

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Global Port’s Sol Mercado (3) challenges the defense of Alaska’s Gabby Espinas in Sunday’s game at Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Batang Pier beat the Aces, 91-88. August dela Cruz

MANILA, Philippines — Barangay Ginebra survived a scare Sunday night and moved within another victory of the No. 1 ranking after clipping Barako Bull, 90-83, in the PLDT MyDSL Philippine Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Gin Kings came charging back from 10 points down early in the fourth quarter, hitting baskets from inside and out in a swashbuckling finish to rise to 10-2 and move a clear game ahead of joint second placers Petron Blaze and Rain or Shine.

Ginebra’s guard rotation did the job from the outside and its twin-tower combination of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar controlled the paint as the Kings won pulling away while dealing the Energy their eighth loss in 13 games.

Eman Monfort came off the bench in the second half to ignite Ginebra’s outside game, and Aguilar had six fourth-quarter points that helped the Kings put the game away and move on the threshold of topping the eliminations for the first time since 2006.

The last time the Kings finished No. 1 was during Jong Uichico’s first conference with the Kings in the Philippine Cup eight years ago, and that was the last all-Filipino title for the most popular team in the land.

And Sunday night, it looked like the Energy were on their way to posting an upset, until a spate of miscues and botched opportunities did Barako Bull in.

Meanwhile, Globalport assured itself of at least a playoff for the No. 8 spot after nipping Alaska, 91-88, in overtime.

The win snapped a five-game slide and put the Batang Pier at 5-8, while the Aces are now in danger of missing the cut after sliding down to 4-9.

The Alaska coaching staff did not play Calvin Abueva, who was reportedly nursing a sprained foot, but reliable sources said after the game that management had slapped a sanction on him for being drunk two nights ago.

Terrence Romeo scored 18 points and Kelly Nabong scored 13 that went with 10 rebounds in one of the most impressive games of his young career. Nabong also forged overtime at 82-all.

“This is the most important game for us,” Ginebra coach Ato Agustin said, since it put them in position to bag the No. 1 spot on Friday against Globalport.

Agustin said they struggled for control in the first half and trailed after failing to solve the Barako Bull zone.

The scores:

First Game

GLOBALPORT 91—Romeo 18, Nabong 13, Mercado 11, Menk 10, Belencion 9, Salvador 8, Salva 7, Najorda 6, Garcia 5, Hayes 4, Revilla 0, Chua 0.

ALASKA 88—Casio 21, Thoss 21, Baguio 20, Espinas 14, Dela Cruz 7, Buenafe 3, Eman 2, Laure 0, Jazul 0, Hontiveros 0, Ramos 0, Exciminiano.

Quarters: 15-19, 34-31, 68-55, 82-82, 91-88

Second Game

GINEBRA 90—Slaughter 14, Caguioa 14, Aguilar 13, Ellis 11, Tenorio 11, Baracael 9, Helterbrand 6, Monfort 6, Reyes 3, Urbiztondo 3, Ababou 0, Mamaril 0, Forrester 0. BARAKO BULL 83—Miranda 16, Intal 15, Pennisi 15, Macapagal 14, Maierhofer 10, Jensen 9, Isip 2, Pena 2, Lastimosa 0, Wilson 0, Miller 0, Buenafe 0.

Quarters: 21-12, 43-38, 60-68, 90-83

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