Kings nip KaTropa
Barangay Ginebra squirmed its way into the top four on Friday night after a thrilling 96-93 nipping of TNT that also knocked the KaTropa out of the PBA Governors’ Cup lead at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Stanley Pringle and Justin Brownlee hit the final four points inside the final 15.6 seconds for the Gin Kings, who improved to 6-3 and claimed a tie for fourth spot with idle sister team San Miguel Beer.
The KaTropa lost for just the second time in nine games and dropped into a share of second with Meralco, which scored a 92-74 ripping of Columbian earlier in the night.
It also spoiled the TNT debut of rookie Ray Parks, who was part of a blockbuster trade with Blackwater last week. Parks scored 17 points.
Japeth Aguilar had 29 points and 10 rebounds and Brownlee was the second player with a double-double for the Kings with 24 and 16 that went with six assists.
Meanwhile, the Beermen can wriggle out of that tie when they take on struggling Rain or Shine in a Petron Saturday Special game slated at Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu.
The Beermen will be parading a new import in the 5 p.m. contest in John Holland, the ex-Cleveland Cavalier who will take the place of the injured Dez Wells.
With its deadliest outside gun decommissioned, Meralco turned to Allen Durham while playing unforgiving defense in dominating the Dyip.
Durham scored 34 points, had 14 rebounds and five assists as the Bolts took a 25-11 lead after the first period and never looked back.
It was the fourth straight win for the Bolts, losing finalists to Barangay Ginebra in 2016 and 2017, that moved them half-a-game off league-leading NLEX.
Another win would give the Bolts at least a playoff for the fourth and last quarterfinal bonus, while wins in their last two games would guarantee a top-four finish and outright twice-to-beat advantage.
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