Gin Kings bring down Elite | Inquirer Sports

Gin Kings bring down Elite

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
01:01 AM January 21, 2017

PBA IMAGES

PBA IMAGES

Right now, it’s all about the next man up for Barangay Ginebra in its last gasp stand to tab a twice-to-beat privilege in the first round of the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs.

The Gin Kings stayed mathematically alive for the No. 2 ranking in the playoffs after withstanding Blackwater, 99-90 at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay, but the crowd-darlings might have to continue their chase with the second of their twin towers, Japeth Aguilar, out for the next game.

Aguilar hyper-extended his right elbow after landing hard on both hands following a dunk with 3:55 left in the second quarter and never returned, and coach Tim Cone, though ecstatic in winning back-to-back games for the first time here and staying alive in the running for a playoff incentive, is bracing for the worst.

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“It will be all about the next man up [in the rotation],” Cone said after his Kings rose to 5-4 and tied Rain or Shine for third spot, just half-a-game behind GlobalPort. “I probably won’t lose sleep over it [waiting for the results of an MRI scan], but I will worry for sure.

“He (Aguilar) is a big part of what we do, obviously, and it’s going to be tough if we lose him,” he said. “We have been able to withstand Greg’s (Slaughter) injury, but we will take a big blow [if Aguilar is ruled out].”

Ginebra has two games remaining, against Phoenix Petroleum tomorrow and then NLEX the week after, and if Aguilar’s injury is what Cone described it to be, then the Kings will be playing those games without a legitimate center.

“We tried him at halftime, and he couldn’t even grip the ball,” Cone said. “We don’t know his status for Sunday (against the Fuel Masters).”
Jervy Cruz and Dave Marcelo were the next men up when Aguilar stepped out, and both delivered.

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Cruz, the former UAAP MVP with Santo Tomas, scored 12 of his 16 in the third period and Marcelo tossed in 10 of his 13 there as the duo got all the backcourt help they needed with LA Tenorio finishing with 15 points and six assists and Scottie Thompson firing 13 and grabbing 15 boards.

The Batang Pier’s game against defending champion San Miguel Beer in a Petron Saturday Special Game today has now become crucial for GlobalPort, which could gain some space over the Gin Kings and the Elasto Painters with a win in their 5 p.m. clash at Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu City.

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Meanwhile, Norman Black wore two sets of smiles last night when he talked in front of the press for the customary winning coach’s interview for the first time in a long, long while.

One was of genuine joy after Meralco snapped a six-game losing streak in the Philippine Cup.

The other looked like one of hopelessness, knowing that he and his Bolts don’t hold their fates in their hands.

“I’m just happy to win this one,” Black said after an upset 82-72 clipping of Rain or Shine in the first game that did little with what’s left of Meralco’s wafer-thin hopes of surviving the elimination round of the season-opening conference.

“We’re keeping our hopes up,” he said after rising to 3-7—but still out of the eight-team quarterfinal circle.

“We need to win one more game and hope for a lot of teams [ahead of us in the standings] to lose” Black added. “Basically, we don’t have control. And we still have to beat Star.”

SCORES

MERALCO 82 – RAIN OR SHINE 72
MERALCO 82—Newsome 19, Hodge 17, Uyloan 14, Al-Hussaini 10, Chua 9, Hugnatan 4, Dillinger 3, Daquioag 2, Grey 2, Amer 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 72—Yap 17, Ponferada 11, Chan 9, Cruz 9, Belga 7, Trollano 7, Washington 6, Tiu 4, Norwood 2, Ahanmisi 0, Matias 0.
Quarters: 35-20, 49-35, 68-56, 82-72

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GINEBRA 99 – BLACKWATER 90
GINEBRA 99—Cruz 16, Tenorio 15, Aguilar 14, Thompson 13, Devance 13, Marcelo 13, Ellis 6, Mercado 5, Ferrer 2, Caguioa 2, Taha 0.
BLACKWATER 90—Sumang 20, Belo 16, Aguilar 16, Sena 14, Dela Cruz 7, Gamalinda 6, Miranda 5, Buenafe 4, Pascual 2, Ababou 0, Pinto 0.
Quarters: 25-23, 53-40, 80-71, 99-90

TAGS: Elite, Gin Kings, Kings, winning

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