BARANGAY Ginebra and Meralco both coasted to one-sided victories last night and enhanced their respective positions in the playoffs of the PBA Philippine Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Gin Kings blew Air21 off the court early, cruising to a 99-76 decision, while the Bolts were good on both ends and scored an 85-73 ripping of Barako Bull as both stayed in the upper half of the standings heading into the final week of eliminations.
Ginebra erected a 33-point lead over the Express in the first half and was 34 ahead going into the fourth quarter as the Kings won a fifth straight game to rise to 7-5 and stay in fourth spot, now just a full game behind third-running Rain or Shine.
Chris Ellis led the Kings with 18 points and LA Tenorio had 15 for the Kings, who will slug it out with Barako Bull tomorrow to seal a best-of-three seat in the quarterfinal round.
Rookie Kelly Nabong scored 12 points and three others chipped in with 11 each as the Bolts remained in the upper half of the standings with a 7-6 card.
Sol Mercado scored 11 points that went with seven feeds, clearly sustaining his role as the top playmaker for the Bolts.
Barako Bull remained winless under new coach Bong Ramos as the Energy slipped to their fourth straight loss, the seventh in their last eight, for a 3-9 card that all but eliminated them from further contention.
“Our destiny is still within our control,” Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio said. “We have a shot at 4, 5, 6.”
Meanwhile, Alaska also tries to stay within ‘best-of-three’ range today when the Aces battle also-ran Globalport in a Phoenix Fuel-presented road game in Dipolog City.
MERALCO 85—Nabong 12, Mercado 11, Hugnatan 11, Salvacion 11, Hodge 8, Buenafe 7, Ross 6, Reyes 6, Cardona 6, Sharma 6, Borboran 1.
BARAKO 73—Tubid 20, Alvarez 12, Seigle 11, Najorda 8, Kramer 7, Pennisi 6, Ballesteros 4, Anthony 3, Cruz 2, Co 0, Yap 0.
Quarters: 25-19, 42-30, 67-57, 85-73
BRGY. GINEBRA 99—Ellis 18, Tenorio 15, Hatfield 11, Helterbrand 9, Mamaril 8, Caguioa 8, Raymundo 8, Wilson 7, Maierhofer 4, Espiritu 3, Taha 2, Jensen 2, Maliksi 2, Labagala 2.
AIR21 76—Arboleda 17, Omolon 12, Canaleta 11, Ritualo 8, Wilson 7, Cortez 7, Isip 4, Sena 3, Baclao 3, Reyes 2, Andaya 2, Atkins 0, Custodio 0.
Quarters: 28-9, 55-29, 81-47, 99-76