Energy, Gin Kings on top
Chalk up another win for Barako Bull as it continued to justify its roundly criticized off-season maneuvers.
The Energy used the long court to overhaul a 15-point deficit in the third quarter then brought down the fancied Alaska Aces, 97-93, last night to emerge as unlikely co-leader with Barangay Ginebra in the elimination round of the PLDT MyDSL PBA Philippine Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Gin Kings also soared to a 2-0 start after whipping Rain or Shine, 97-84, in the second game.
Barako Bull dropped seven triples in the fourth period alone and erased a 65-80 deficit to win for the second straight night while dealing the Aces a second loss in three outings.
Ronjay Buenafe and Mick Pennisi both went 3-of-3 from long distance in the fourth period and JC Intal had the seventh conversion from there as the Energy finished off with a flurry after going cold in the third period.
“It’s still too early, we still have 12 games left,” coach Bong Ramos said. “Hopefully, we continue to gain positive results.”
Barako Bull hugged the headlines for the wrong reasons a day after the Draft, when it traded all three of its first round picks in favor of older, more expensive players.
Ramos defended that move in a lopsided win over Air21 last week. Last night, he didn’t even need to talk about it.
“I was just lucky because I missed my first three (three-point) shots,” Pennisi said. “But that is what I am here for—to shoot threes.”
The veterans-laden squad played with so much poise in a tight endgame, with Willie Miller and JC Intal also stepping up at the crunch with Miller’s fallaway jumper with 43 seconds left giving the Energy a 93-91 lead.
“We have been waiting for Willie and JC (to explode),” Ramos said. We made out outside shots and that was crucial.”
Buenafe topscored for the Energy with 27 points, topping his brilliant offensive game with the shot of the night—a double-pumping short stab coming off a pirouette off two defenders—that gave the Energy the lead, 95-93, entering the final 33 seconds.
All told, the Energy made a total of 17 triples, 13 more than what the Aces made and five more than what they nailed from two-point zone.
In fact, the Energy’s 17-of-39 shooting for a 43 percent clip from beyond the arc was better than their 12-of-36 clip from the two-point distance. Those 17 triples reset the franchise mark for a regulation game for Barako Bull.
Cyrus Baguio, who paced the Aces with 20 points, tossed up the potential game-tying triple attempt when the score was 96-93 but missed it with 2.2 seconds left which led to a Miller free throw.
Mark Isip was the second player in twin digits for the Energy with 12.
BARAKO 97—Buenafe 27, Isip 12, Jensen 9, Intal 9, Pennisi 9, Miller 8, Macapagal 5, Wilson 4, Villanueva 4, Miranda 4, Labagala 3, Pena 3.
ALASKA 93—Baguio 20, Thoss 16, Espinas 15, Casio 12, Jazul 9, Abueva 9, Avenido 4, Ramos 4, Hontiveros 2, Eman 2, Belasco 0, Dela Cruz 0.
Quarters: 21-16, 44-40, 63-76, 97-93
GINEBRA 97—Caguioa 22, Aguilar 19, Slaughter 18, Tenorio 10, Ellis 9, Helterbrand 6, Reyes 5, Ababou 3, Forrester 3, Baracael 2, Monfort 0, Mamaril 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 84—Arana 21, Chan 14, Cruz 11, Almazan 9, Belga 8, Nuyles 6, Lee 5, Rodriguez 4, Norwood 3, Quinahan 2, Ibanes 1, Tang 0, Teng 0.
Quarters: 29-19, 48-37, 68-62, 97-84
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