Barangay Ginebra outfought Rain or Shine in a fierce battle for a second time in four nights, and fashioned out an 88-80 win in the opener of their PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals showdown at the MOA Arena in Pasay City Monday night.
The Gin Kings, the playoffs No. 4 seed, unleashed a crucial 12-0 run from a slim 70-69 lead and held on to repeat their 100-92 victory in their triple-overtime duel at the close of the eliminations Friday over at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Game One is always crucial in a series, but definitely our job is not yet done. That team would surely not just lay down,” said Sol Mercado, a spark plug in their lethal run.
Mercado dished out his best game since his return from an injury, scoring all of his 13 points in the second half to help the Gin Kings move in the threshold of the Final Four.
The Kings, losing finalists in the all-Filipino tourney last season, go for the jugular versus the Elasto Painters on Wednesday back at the Big Dome.
Brgy. Ginebra 88 — Tenorio 16, Devance 15, J. Aguilar 14, Thompson 14, Mercado 13, Ferrer 6, Mariano 6, Cruz 4, R. Aguilar 0, Caguioa 0
Rain or Shine 80 — Belga 17, Daquioag 16, Ahanmisi 10, Ponferrada 9, Nambatac 8, Trollano 6, Washington 5, Norwood 4, Tiu 3, Maiquez 2, Almazan 0, Borboran 0
Quarterscores: 21-23, 44-43, 68-64, 88-80.