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Gin Kings and Hotshots pull out contrasting wins and get ready for latest chapter of their storied rivalry the winning way
/ 05:03 AM December 20, 2021

LA Tenorio (No. 5) helped Ginebra scratch and claw its way out of a hole against Chris Banchero and the Fuel Masters. —PBA IMAGES.

With so much hype surrounding the first clash of Barangay Ginebra and Magnolia with the crowd back in attendance, the powerhouse, glamour teams on Sunday made sure that the drum-up for that will reach fever pitch come Christmas Day.

The Hotshots showed their readiness for a bout against a fellow heavyweight with an easy 109-98 dispatching of Rain or Shine, before the Gin Kings used their famed never-say-die skills in carving out a 125-121 overtime nipping of hard-fighting Phoenix that set the tables up for the latest installment of their famed rivalry.

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Magnolia and Ginebra will stake their unblemished records in the PBA Governors’ Cup eliminations on Saturday also at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City, and there was no better way to send off the two title favorites than the way they played.

LA breaks Phoenix

Ginebra, the defending champion here, needed every ounce of its resolve to rally from five points down with 35 seconds left in regulation, needing an LA Tenorio triple with 1.2 seconds left to forge extension at 114-all, before finishing off the Fuel Masters with a flurry in the final minute to win a third straight game.

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“We’re glad that we came out on top,” Ginebra coach Tim Cone said. “I was telling our guys before the game that there’s not going to be easy games here. You’d have to scratch and claw for every win.”

Justin Brownlee led the Gin Kings with 31 points, with Christian Standhardinger putting up 30. But it was Tenorio who had the biggest shots when the chips were down, as he capped off a 15-point night with a triple that put the game to bed.

The Hotshots, meanwhile, had its star-studded crew delivering on both ends in routing the Elasto Painters as Magnolia rose to 2-0 while dealing Rain or Shine its second defeat against as many wins.

Victolero milestone

Already riding the hot hands of former Best Import Mike Harris, Magnolia also drew twin digits from three locals as the game which Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said he was wary of, didn’t turn out to be that close.

“During the last bubble, we faced them in the quarterfinals and we had a hard time. Today, too,” Victolero, who won his 200th game as coach, said. “I guess what’s better this time is that we played defense as we continued to execute on offense.

“On both ends of the floor, we executed. And we had great contributions again from our bench.”

Jio Jalalon turned in 14 points that went with 10 assists, turning in his first double-double in a long while, to backstop Harris’ 26 points and six rebounds and Calvin Abueva’s 18 and nine.

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As far as the Christmas Day duel is concerned, the champion coach said the weight of that game alone will be enough to motivate everyone within his quarters.

“[T]he crowd is back, so we just want to prepare for this game, just like our other games. I don’t need to motivate my players because the hype and the fans will do that to the players,” he said.

“Hopefully we can execute, and we can prepare well for this game—a Christmas Day gift for the PBA fans, for both Magnolia and Ginebra fans,” he added.

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TAGS: Chris Banchero, Fuel Masters
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