Show of grit
Dragged into a dogfight, Barangay Ginebra showcased its trademark grit and resilience to come away with a victory that could go a long way in its hopes of going deep in the PBA Philippine Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
But if this was a sign of things to come, the road to the top won’t be any easier for the Gin Kings.
Ginebra finally made key plays in the third overtime against a suddenly cold-shooting Rain or Shine squad to forge a 100-92 victory and secure the fourth seed in the quarterfinals.
Jervy Cruz hit a jumper with 34.1 seconds remaining and LA Tenorio buried cushion free throws as the Gin Kings avoided a difficult knockout duel against Blackwater for the eighth seed in the quarterfinals.
Instead, the Gin Kings will end up as the fourth seed with a duel against the same Rain or Shine team that pushed them to the limit on the final day of the elimination round.
Japeth Aguilar had 20 points in 51 minutes to lead Ginebra, which wound up with a 6-5 record just like NLEX and Rain or Shine. The Gin Kings, however, grabbed the fourth seed when quotient was applied.
The Ginebra victory and Phoenix Petroleum’s 104-100 conquest of GlobalPort in the first game knocked Blackwater out of the playoff race.
The Fuel Masters will face TNT KaTropa on Sunday for the remaining quarterfinal berth with the winner clashing with twice-to-beat San Miguel Beer in the quarterfinals.
Magnolia battles GlobalPort armed with the same advantage, while NLEX and Alaska clash in the other best-of-three quarterfinal series.
Facing elimination, the Fuel Masters survived GlobalPort’s furious comeback in the first game. Matthew Wright had 32 points, but the Phoenix nearly blew a 31-point lead before winding up with a 5-6 record like Talk ’N Text and GlobalPort.
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