Ginebra earns playoff spot, rallies past NLEX
Riding a wave of confidence from its late second quarter spurt, Ginebra trumped NLEX, 90-80, to secure a seat in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals Sunday at Cuneta Astrodome.
LA Tenorio was stellar, firing 30 points, 15 coming in the second half, that went with nine rebounds, and four assists as the Gin Kings finished their eliminations schedule with a 6-5 card.
Ginebra ended the first half on a 15-4 tear to pull within four, 46-42, at the half after trailing by as much as 17.
From there, Tenorio and Joe Devance took turns in the third frame as the Gin Kings exploded for a 30-point third quarter to take a 87-72 buffer with 7:25 left.
“It looked for a while that we forgot to play basketball. We looked like high school kids trying to play against professionals early in the game. LA, Scottie (Thompson), and Sol (Mercado) got us right towards the end of the first half and that propelled us into halftime and gave us confidence,” said coach Tim Cone.
NLEX closed to within 87-80 with 2:14 to play before Sol Mercado doused the Road Warriors’ rally with a trey with 44.2 ticks remaining.
Devance added 19 markers, eight boards, and six assists, Mercado dropped 13 points, three rebounds, and three dimes, and Thompson finished with a near triple-double performance of 11 markers, eight boards, and nine assists in the Ginebra victory.
The loss ended NLEX’s disastrous first conference under coach Yeng Guiao as it wrapped up its campaign with a 2-9 card.
Enrico Villanueva topped the Road Warriors with 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field. Kevin Alas also got 14 markers that went with four rebounds, and two assists.
GINEBRA 90 – Tenorio 30, Devance 19, Mercado 13, Thompson 11, Aguilar 7, Marcelo 4, Ellis 2, Taha 2, Cruz 2, Ferrer 0, Caguioa 0.
NLEX 80 – Alas 14, E. Villanueva 14, Guinto 10, Lanete 8, Lastimosa 7, J. Villanueva 7, Khobuntin 7, Taulava 6, Rios 5, Camson 2, Gotladera 0, Baracael 0.
Quarters: 20-28, 42-46, 72-64, 90-80.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.