Kings trip Pain­ters, re­gain lead

The Philippine Star - - SPORTS - By NEL­SON BELTRAN

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.

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