Huge comeback for Ginebra to stymie Rain or ShineBy Celest R. Flores
Ginebra rallied from 18 points down to stun Rain or Shine 97-90 Sunday night to stay in the hunt for a spot in the next round in the 2012 PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Even with reigning MVP Mark Caguiao sitting on the bench, the Kings were able to mount an epic comeback against a squad as lethal as them when it comes to end games.
Staring at the deficit for most of the game — and even 18 in the first half — Ginebra started its climb into striking distance when Tenorio, and the rest, stepped on the gas and toughened on the defense.
Tenorio nailed a trey to counter Jeff Chan’s conversion, then Helterbrand also found his mark from downtown, before setting up rookie Chris Ellis for the go-ahead three-point play.
Tenorio finished with 20 points — on just one miss from the stripe — along with seven rebounds, 10 assists and two steals.
The double-digit disadvantage it struggled to chop down was now a 89-88 lead — Ginebra’s first taste — with 1:44 to go.
All Kings needed to do was to hold their ground on defense against the Elastopainters for the last two minutes.
And they did, as Ginebra even went on a 8-2 run to finish the game punctuated by a windmill slam from Ellis that caught Rain or Shine off guard at the buzzer.
“Good thing we were able to stick together and grind through this one,” said head coach Siot Tanquincen. “Helterbrand filled the void, Wilson, Taha and Ellis gave us energy,”
Rookie Yousef Taha provided the jolt as his entry to the game, marked by a three-point play early in the fourth, started the run for Ginebra.
Three more Gin Kings finished in double-digits with Caguiao adding 18 points and seven rebounds.
The Gin Kings, now at 6-5, also leaned on their commendable free-throw shooting to ice the game in the final minutes.
Rain or Shine jumped the gun early for a 40-22 lead in the second quarter, but just could not make the baskets and the needed stops in the end game.
Chan, who had 11, made his first field goals in the fourth quarter to try and halt Ginebra’s momentum — but those came too late for the Elastopainters.
Jervy Cruz, who was impeccable from the line all night, led Rain or Shine, which stays in third with an 8-4 card, in scoring with 17 points which went along with 12 boards.
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