Jervy Cruz of Ginebra secures the ball in a rebound play with Raymond Almazan of Rain or Shine in the second game of their PBA quarterfinal game last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Joey Mendoza

Ginebra Gin Kings, NLEX Road Warriors complete Final 4
Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - March 8, 2018 - 12:00am

Rain or Shine, Alaska bow out

MANILA, Philippines — The Gin Kings reigned over the Elasto Painters for a third time in six nights, fashioning out a 99-91 victory largely behind Japeth Aguilar, Jervy Cruz and LA Tenorio to punch a semifinal ticket in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.

Aguilar sparkled with game highs of 27 points, 12 rebounds, three steals and three blocks while Cruz and Tenorio came through with their own solid all-around numbers as the Kings rolled past the E-Painters to advance to the Final Four versus reigning three-time champ San Miguel Beer.

“It’s a relief to go through the quarterfinals. And now we face the monster,” said Cone.

“You can refer that to June Mar (Fajardo) or the whole San Miguel team. They won three (all-Filipino) championships in a row for a reason,” Cone also said. “You just saw them against TNT (in their own quarters matchup). TNT was really playing well. Still, San Miguel out-steadied them in the end.”

If the series starts tomorrow, Cone said it’s unlikely Slaughter (nursing a sprained ankle) would play.

Against the ROS team hit harder by injuries, the Gin Kings just banked on Aguilar, Cruz, Tenorio, Joe Devance, Scottie Thompson and Sol Mercado to make it safely to the next round.

“Japeth was great all game long, LA came around in the second half, Joe is always a steady influence for us, and Scottie’s always there. Our unsung hero in this series is Sol,” said Cone.

“He started in both games. In both games, he made the big shots and the big stops,” Cone added of Mercado, who came up with 10 markers, six rebounds and the same number of assists in their series-clinching triumph.

Meanwhile, NLEX’s young crew held their own against Alaska Milk’s veteran core players in the crunch, squeezing out an 87-83 win to nail a first-ever semifinal for the four-year-old franchise.

Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas took turns leading the charge early on then the unheralded Michael Miranda sneaked in with big bombs down the stretch as the Road Warriors took the last Final Four seat.

The scores:

First Game

Barangay Ginebra 99 – Aguilar 27, Cruz 18, Tenorio 17, Mercado 10, Devance 10, Thompson 9, Ferrer 6, Taha 2, Mariano 0, Manuel 0.

Rain or Shine 91 – Ahanmisi 18, Daquioag 14, Almazan 14, Belga 13, Nambatac 8, Norwood 7, Ponferada 7, Washington 5, Onwubere 3, Borboran 2.

Quarterscores: 28-19, 43-46, 77-72, 99-91

Second Game

NLEX 87 – Alas 18, Quiñahan 16, Miranda 12, Ravena 11, Mallari 8, Fonacier 7, Soyud 5, Tiongson 3, Ighalo 3, Al-Hussaini 2, Taulava 2, Baguio 0, Gotladera 0.

Alaska 83 – Abueva 17, Exciminiano 12, Casio 10, Racal 10, Manuel 9, Thoss 8, Banchero 8, Baclao 4, Enciso 2, Cruz 2, Magat 1, Teng 0, J. Pascual 0.

Quarterscores: 24-23, 49-43, 68-71, 87-83

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