Getting closer | Inquirer Sports

Getting closer

Ginebra rallies to nip NLEX on the road and keep twice-to-beat bid alive
/ 05:45 AM March 24, 2019

Barangay Ginebra weathered a bout with food poisoning and bucked a lethargic start to clip NLEX, 105-96, in a Petron Saturday Special game and clinch a playoff spot in the PBA Philippine Cup at Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena & Cultural Center in Pampanga.

“We had a real bad case of food poisoning. The hardest hit was Mark Caguioa. Sol (Mercado) was hit hard, I was hit hard. We had about eight or nine  players suffering from [it],” Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said.


“It was real hard to get ourselves up and get ready for this,” Cone added. “But we found a way.”


Leading the charge was Japeth Aguilar, who delighted the hometown crowd with 27 points and nine rebounds.  LA Tenorio pumped in 17 while Greg Slaughter and Kevin Ferrer each tallied 14 to help Ginebra close in on the No. 2 spot and forge a playoff for the second twice-to-beat privilege in the first round of the playoffs.

“Slowly, we caught up, got ahead and was able to hold on,” Cone added. “We had to adjust our defense so we could battle a little bit more. I felt we played a really good second quarter defensively and that gave us kind of a blueprint for the rest of the game.”

The victory hiked the Kings’ record to 6-3, putting them just behind 7-3 TNT KaTropa which is also still in the running for the last quarterfinal bonus.

NLEX unloaded eight triples in a fiery start, but was unable to sustain that hot shooting during the middle quarters.

Poy Erram and JR Quiñahan had 16 and 15 points for the losers, respectively, as NLEX dropped to a 4-6 record to still be out of the playoff picture with a game against Magnolia remaining.

Cone, whose squad has two more games left, said their their biggest drive is to avoid the heavyweights in the first round of the playoffs.

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TAGS: Barangay Ginebra, Japeth Aguilar, NLEX, PBA Philippine Cup, Tim Cone

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