Brgy. Ginebra fell to a heavily depleted Meralco squad Sunday night at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue Bulacan, site of last conference’s historic Finals clash between the same two teams which drew a record-setting attendance of 54,086 in Game 7.
The Bolts were without forwards Ranidel de Ocampo, Cliff Hodge and Jared Dilliner while the Gin Kings paraded an almost intact line-up with Joe Devance making his season debut. Only Art dela Cruz remained out of commission for the reigning Governors’ Cup champions.
With both teams badly needing a win to bolster their respective playoff chances, Meralco came out on top as Brgy. Ginebra collapsed in the end due to lapses and bungled executions.
On the forefront of the debilitating loss is Brgy. Ginebra’s acknowledged leader LA Tenorio. The “Gineral” could only cough up 5 points and 3 assists despite playing for almost 42 minutes. The 33-year old guard converted only 1 out of 8 attempts from the field and committed 3 turnovers.
Tenorio was quick to put the blame on the team for the unexpected defeat, with emphasis on the starters and himself.
“It’s on us especially sa amin na first group, especially sa akin. It’s a responsibility to start and finish the game well,” said Tenorio during the post-game interview.
The loss brought the team down to 6th place with a 5-5 record and wiped out any possibility of the Gin Kings finishing in the top 2.
“We just have to move forward and prepare for the next game, a do-or-die one for us,” added Tenorio.
Brgy. Ginebra will close the elimination round against the surging Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on March 2 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.