Freeman Cebu Sports

Ginebra dodges upset axe Reavis’ last-second shot lifts Gin Kings to victory vs. M. Lhuillier


Rafi Reavis drilled in a medium-range jumper with eighth-tenth of a second left in the game to lift Brgy. Ginebra Kings to a nerve-wracking 92-90 victory over the big-hearted M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala Jewelers in their exhibition match that thrilled the jampacked crowd to the max last night at the Cebu Coliseum.

The game appeared to be a blowout for the visiting PBA squad of coach Jong Uichico when it launched a blistering 27-7 rally to turn a 12-15 deficit into a 17-point advantage,  39-22, on back-to-back hits by Victor Pablo with 4:33 remaining in the game.

But as the game progressed, the Jewelers picked up their rhythm with savvy to forge a down-the-wire battle. Instrumental for M. Lhuillier’s big comeback in the windup were 6-foot-8 American import Michael Jamar Le Blanc, Bruce Dacia, Woodrow Enriquez, and Bruce Dacia.

After missing his first three shots that was further compounded by flubbing a behind-the-back pass attempt, Le Blanc shook off early game jitters and gained some measure of respect from fans with his high-percentage outside shooting.

The last time Ginebra enjoyed a double-digit lead was at 81-70 with 5:06 to go in the contest. Padilla tossed in all his seven points during a 16-6 spurt that pulled the Jewelers within, 86-89, heading into the final minute zone of the contest.

Enriquez later scored on a four-point swing to knot the count at 90-all with 12 ticks left before the final buzzer. He could have even pushed M. Lhuillier ahead, but the cat-quick guard failed to complete a three-point play.

In the final sequence of the match, Reavis drove hard to the baseline, but opted to go for the shot after Le Blanc crumbled on the defensive end. The ball gently swished through the net, prompting the entire Ginebra bench to leap for joy. Interestingly, Reavis finished with only four points. Rodney Santos topped Ginebra with 13 points even as four others cashed in double figures. Ronald Tubid chipped in 11 markers, while Victor Pablo, Alex Crisano, and Sunday Salvacion each scored 10.

Le Blanc paced M. Lhuillier with 25 points followed by Dacia with 21. Enriquez donated 19 markers.

Despite the loss, the Jewelers can still hold their heads up high for giving the Gin Kings one heck of a fight, which they usually wield when ranged against a formidable PBA squad.

Just last week, the Jewelers put up one brave stand before dropping a 97-101 decision to the Talk ‘N Txt Phone Pals also at the Coliseum.

The scores

Ginebra (92) - Santos 13, Tubid 11, Pablo 10, Crisano 10, Salvacion 10, Menk 8, Macapagal 6, Mamaril 6, Pacana 6, Reavis 4, Abarrientos 3, Aquino 3, Escalona 2

M. Lhuillier (90) - Le Blanc 25, Dacia 21, Enriquez 19, Basco 9, Padilla 7, Capati 5, Cavan 2

Quarterscores:21-17, 35-44, 68-61, 92-90

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