Credit to Author: Tempo Desk| Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 22:55:32 +0000
By JONAS TERRADO
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel once again showed its might with a 96-79 demolition of Meralco in the start of their latest playoff encounter Wednesday night in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
Stanley Pringle was among those who ignited the Ginebra attack after playing the role of closer multiple times inside the bubble, finishing with 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals as the Kings drew first blood in the best-of-five affair.
Also key for Ginebra was Scottie Thompson, whose all-around play netted him 13 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Four others scored in double figures even as Japeth Aguilar likewise imposed his will in the contest that was tight until late in the second quarter when Ginebra was able to pull away.
In the first game, TNT banked on Jayson Castro’s heroics down the stretch to preserve a 95-92 win over Phoenix Super LPG and take the opener of their own series.
Castro scored nine of the team’s final 14 points as the Tropang Giga weathered the Fuel Masters’ comeback despite missing ace scorer Matthew Wright to an ankle injury early in the game to gain a headstart in their best-of-five series.
He finished with 20 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals in a performance that was somewhat a return to the Castro of old after spending most of the bubble being efficient despite restricted minutes in a complimentary role.
“We’re glad that Jayson really stepped up tonight,” said TNT coach Bong Ravena. “Yun ang mga kailangan namin sa kanya: execution, making good decisions. We’re just fortunate na na-shoot niya yung mga very important baskets.”
His three-pointer with 1:14 remaining extended TNT’s lead to 90-86 and later grabbed the offensive rebound off a missed three by Simon Enciso to convert a putback that made it 92-88, 26.6 seconds left.
Phoenix got a chance to tie the game after RJ Jazul knocked down a triple and Enciso made just one of two free throws for a 93-91. Jason Perkins got fouled by Ray Parks Jr. with a chance to tie the score but split his charities with 5.3 seconds left to keep TNT up 93-92.
Castro drained two foul shots before Phoenix’s Alex Mallari missed a game-tying three before time expired.
Ginebra’s impressive team defense was also in full display, limiting the production of Meralco’s main weapons that enabled the Kings to lead by a high of 25 points.
“It was really, to me, a great team game,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone. “Stanley played great and he deserved to be Player of the Game but there were a lot of contributions out there.”
Rookie Arvin Tolentino drew praise from Cone for being a floor spacer while also scoring 13 points, Aljon Mariano had 11 points and seven rebounds while LA Tenorio added 11 points despite a 3-of-11 shooting with seven rebounds and four assists.
Prince Caperal was the other Ginebra with double-digit scoring with 10 while Aguilar was also efficient and came up with nine points and eight rebounds.
Ginebra, five days removed from eliminating Rain or Shine in the quarterfinal, continued its playoff mastery over a Meralco side that ended the Philippine Cup title reign of San Miguel Beer by winning twice in the quarterfinals.
Allein Maliksi scored 24 points and Chris Newsome added 13 but Baser Amer had another miserable playoff shooting against Ginebra, going 1-of-10 from the field for only two points.
Cliff Hodge only had four points and three rebounds and Bong Quinto just two points on 1-of-9 shooting.
Meralco was behind 37-34 in the second when Ginebra closed the quarter on an