Kings trip Painters, regain lead
Barangay Ginebra rebounded strong from a loss to San Miguel Beer, pulling off an almost wire-to-wire 89-82 win over Rain or Shine to regain the solo lead heading into the homestretch of the PBA Governors Cup eliminations at the MOA Arena in Pasay last night.
The Kings seized command right in the getgo on Justin Brownlee’s explosive start, and thwarted Rain or Shine’s repeated uprising on the way to the crucial victory that assured Ginebra (8-2) of at least a tie for fourth place at the close of the elims on Sept. 24.
They erase complications of any tie in the race for the Top Four and its reward of a twiceto-beat advantage in the quarterfinals if they win versus the TNT KaTropa Texters in the next Petron Blaze Saturday Special.
“It’s a grind. It’s good we found an answer each time Rain or Shine made a run,” said coach Tim Cone of the win that once again shoved the Kings ahead of everybody with five play dates left in the single round robin elims where only the Top Eight advance to the next round.
Failing to complete a rally from 16 points down, the Elasto Painters dropped to seventh place at 5-4.
The E-Painters kept on coming back behind outside bombs by import J’Nathan Bullock and local gunners Jericho Cruz, Chris Tiu and Gabe Norwood.
At 80-78, the Kings, however, saw the last of the E-Painters’ comeback bid as Scottie Thompson, Brownlee and LA Tenorio strung up three lethal baskets to make it 86-78 with a minute left to play.
Brownlee led all scorers with 28 points, including 11 in the first quarter while Tenorio, Thompson and Greg Slaughter combined for 40 points. Japeth Aguilar went scoreless in a game for the first time in a long, long while.
Earlier, San Miguel Beer once again banked on its battle-tested local stars to repel a gritty Kia squad, 118-112, and move up to joint fourth with TNT KaTropa at 6-3.
June Mar Fajardo churned in a personal career second-best of 41 points on top of 17 rebounds and three assists while Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos, Chris Ross and Alex Cabagnot added double-digit productions to get the Beermen past a Kia side that put up
a whale of a fight behind the big games of Geron Johnson, Mark Yee, Jackson Corpuz and Philip Paniamogan.
Though long out of the race, the Picanto came up with an admirable stand, setting the pace most of the first three quarters of play.
They led by as many as 11 and were in command at 84-78 through the third when San Miguel coach Leo Austria decided to just gamble on his local players.
Terrence Watson was good for only 16 points and 14 rebounds in 28 minutes of action.
With Watson reduced to being a spectator, Fajardo powered the Beermen ahead at 94-89.