The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel has secured the twice-to-beat advantage after beating the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok in another “Manila Classico” duel, 93-86.
Reigning 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Best Import Justin Brownlee had another superb basketball performance as he logged 29 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists.
Likewise, Gin Kings twin towers Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar went beasting inside the paint as they had a combined 28 points and 15 rebounds. With the victory, Ginebra strengthen their hold in the number one spot in the standings.
“It’s just pogi point. No. 1 is the same as No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4,” said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone.
“Every time that it looked we’ve put the game away, they would come back and make a big run on us. That goes to show how good that team is,” said Cone. “I’m happy we’re able to keep our poise and make the runs of our own.”
Team NSD piled a huge lead as much as 22 points but the Hotshots were resilient and pulled down the deficit to 84-89. However, a crucial error committed by their second year guard Jio Jalalon ended Magnolia’s hope for a comeback.
Unlike last conference, Magnolia is one of the top four teams this 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup. They were relegated to number two spot (tied with the Alaska Aces) after the defeat.
Still, there’s a chance for the Hotshots to end the elims in the number one position and a four-way toe with the Gin Kings, Alaska and the Blackwater Elite.
One week from now, PBA fans will witness a somehow “do-or-die” game between the Phoenix Fuel Petroleum Fuel Masters and the Blackwater Elite as both team will collide for the last twice-to-beat advantage ticket during the playoffs.
As mentioned earlier, Greg Slaughter is now back after got sidelined due to an injury. The same reason why he was not able to join last month’s Gilas Pilipinas campaign both in Asian Games and in 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
Also, Sol Mercado is back in action after he recovered from his own injury.
“We’re glad to have Greg and Sol back,” said Cone.
The last assignment of Ginebra in the elimination round is against the Talk ‘N Text KaTropa Texters. Coach Tim Cone will most likely put more playing time for his two comeback players to keep them ready for the second round battle.
Ginebra vs Magnolia Box Score
Quarters: 24-15 | 46-31 | 69-53 | 93-86
Gin Kings (93) – Brownlee 29, Aguilar 17, Slaughter 11, Tenorio 9, Mercado 9, Mariano 6, Thompson 6, Chan 3, Ferrer 3
Hotshots (86) – Travis 30, Lee 21, Jalalon 12, Barroca 10, Herndon 5, Melton 3, Simon 2, Dela Rosa 2, Reavis 1