Brgy. Ginebra survived a hard struggle as it came through with two defensive gems at the finish to stop tournament-frontrunner Phoenix Pulse, 100-97, in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday.
Japeth Aguilar and Scottie Thompson played behind LA Tenorio, Aljon Mariano and Greg Slaughter offensively, but delivered the defensive exploits that lifted Ginebra past Phoenix and into solo fifth place at 4-3.
The Fuel Masters got stalled at 8-2, but will have another shot at a Top Two Finish versus the San Miguel Beermen Saturday in Panabo, Davao del Norte.
“For one night, we’re able to match their character,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone shortly after they pulled through in the grind-out battle.
“We showed character all game long. Things were not going for us, we’re missing shots and they’re hitting shots off the backboard. But we played with character. We didn’t panic and we didn’t quit,” Cone also said.
Truly, the Kings persevered when things didn’t go their way.
Trailing most of the way, the Kings got to finally taste the lead only at 94-93 in the last 2:58 mark of the game, then they played tough to the finish to stop the blazing Phoenix charge.
Brgy. Ginebra 100 – Tenorio 23, Mariano 20, Slaughter 18, Chan 13, Aguilar 11, Thompson 5, Cruz 4, Dela Cruz 4, Mercado 2, Caperal 0, Ferrer 0.
Phoenix 97 – Abueva 15, Kramer 14, Jazul 13, Chua 13, Wright 10, Marcelo 10, Perkins 9, Mallari 9, Revilla 2, Mendoza 2.
Quarterscores: 18-24, 40-46, 72-76, 100-97.