MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra remained in the hunt for a win-once quarterfinal bonus in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup after outlasting NLEX, 105-96, at the AUF Sports Arena in Pampanga on Saturday, March 23.
Japeth Aguilar scattered 8 of his game-high 27 points in the final 3 minutes as the Gin Kings showed immense composure in the endgame against the Road Warriors' gallant stand to improve to 6-3.
The crucial win kept Ginebra in the thick of the fight for the last twice-to-beat advantage with Rain or Shine (8-3) and TNT (7-3).
Up by just 2 points with less than 4 minutes left, Ginebra unloaded 6 straight points – with 4 coming from Aguilar – to build a 100-92 advantage.
Back-to-back Kenneth Ighalo and Juami Tiongson buckets made it a four-point game for NLEX, 96-100, but Aguilar scored another 4 points in the win-clinching 6-0 blitz.
Aguilar also finished with 9 rebounds, LA Tenorio had 17 points and 4 assists and Scottie Thompson added 14 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals in the victory.
Greg Slaughter and Kevin Ferrer each finished with 14 points for the Gin Kings, who have won their third straight game.
The Road Warriors, meanwhile, saw their two-game winning streak snapped despite having 4 players breach twin digits.
Poy Erram paced NLEX, which slipped to 8th place behind a 4-6 slate, with 16 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals while JR Quiñahan delivered 15 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
Bong Galanza and Tiongson had 12 points apiece in the losing effort.
Ginebra 105 – Aguilar 27, Tenorio 17, Thompson 14, Ferrer 14, Slaughter 14, Chan 7, Dela Cruz 7, Mariano 4, Mercado 1, Caperal 0.
NLEX 96 – Erram 16, Quinahan 15, Tiongson 12, Galanza 12, Paniamogan 8, Ighalo 8, Tallo 8, Magat 6, Lao 5, Soyud 3, Taulava 3, Baguio 0.
Quarters: 19-30, 46-51, 74-72, 105-96.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.