Barangay Ginebra came out scorching and crushed Barako Bull, 93-72, to nail its first victory in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup last night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mark Caguioa had 23 points while import Vernon Macklin added 21 and 14 boards as the Kings snapped out of a 0-4 start and hand coach Alfrancis Chua his first victory as chief tactician of the league’s most popular squad.
“I told the players that even after our last loss against Alaska, I never got mad at them and I still trusted them,” said Chua, who skipped untying his ponytail, a tradition he used to follow after every victory during his previous coaching stints in the PBA.
“I just told them to believe in themselves, to believe in their teammates,” added Chua.
The Kings used a 20-6 charge that spanned intermission to manhandle the Energy, who were limited to 26 points after two periods and ended up with 23 turnovers for the match.
In the first game, Ryan Araña knocked down a crucial three from the corner and Rain Or Shine forced an Air21 turnover in the end for a 99-97 victory.
With 3.8 seconds left, Air21’s Mike Cortez made an errant pass from the baseline caught by Jireh Ibañes as the Elasto Painters escaped with their third win in a row.
The Cortez lob was intended for Michael Dunigan after he couldn’t find an open man. But the 6-foot-10 grinder, roughed up by Beau Belga at the low blocks, missed securing the leather and the chance to forge an extension.
“We got really lucky in this game,” said Rain Or Shine coach Yeng Guiao. “We had problems matching up with their import and aside from that, they were making threes. It’s just fortunate that they made a bad pass in the last play.”
Making matters complicated for the Elasto Painters was the absence of Bruno Sundov during the crucial moments. The 7-foot-3 rim protector fouled out more than a minute to go, creating a mismatch for Dunigan in the paint.
But the Express failed to capitalize as Dunigan got stalled by Belga and JR Quiñahan.
RAIN OR SHINE 99—Sundov 17, Lee 15, Araña 11, Quiñahan 9, Norwood 8, Rodriguez 8, Matias 7, Cruz 6, Uyloan 5, Belga 5, Tiu 4, Ibañes 4.
AIR21 97—Dunigan 22, Canaleta 18, Isip14, Cortez 14, Wilson 11, Arboleda 9, Atkins 4, Reyes 3, Omolon 1, Ritualo 1, Sena 0, Baclao 0, Custodio 0.
Quarters: 26-20, 43-41, 74-72, 99-97
BRGY. GINEBRA 93—Caguioa 23, Macklin 21, Baracael 14, Tenorio 10, Ellis 9, Raymundo 4, Taha 3, Labagala 2, Espiritu 2, Mamaril 2, Helterbrand 2, Maierhofer 1, Hatfield 0.
BARAKO BULL 72—Brock 16, Urbiztondo 16, Maliksi 10, Pennisi 8, Seigle 6, Kramer 4, Allado 4, Intal 3, Macapagal 3, Duncil 2, Weinstein 0, Anthony 0, Villanueva 0.
Quarters: 21-11, 39-26, 66-46, 93-72