Slowly, Gin Kings get into groove

John Bryan Ulanday - The Philippine Star
Slowly, Gin Kings get into groove
Stanley Pringle
PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines — Defending titlist Ginebra turned to its championship experience down the stretch, weathering Blackwater’s repeated rallies for a huge 96-81 rebound win in the 46th PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City yesterday.

On the cusp of squandering a 17-point lead, seasoned bets Stanley Pringle and LA Tenorio steadied the ship for the Gin Kings with timely baskets and dimes to finish with 19 and 17 markers, respectively, on top of a combined 13 assists.

Supersub Prince Caperal added 16 and 11 boards in a near perfect 7-of-8 shooting, Scottie Thompson threw in 11 while new anchor Christian Standhardinger, now taking his free throws with the left hand, was finally unleashed with a strong 11-19 double-double.

Japeth Aguilar also fired in 14 points and two blocks including a basket in the 4:15 mark of the first period to enter the elite 5,000-point PBA club as the 93rd overall member and only the 12th Ginebra player in history.

The Gin Kings thus avenged their flat 94-75 debut loss to NLEX but not without numerous scares from the gritty Bossing.

“It wasn’t pretty, that’s for sure. We haven’t put together any pretty basketball yet. We’re still working to be more coherent and more together in our play now. It’s been a little bit of struggle,” said coach Tim Cone.

“We came out, we weren’t ready to play against NLEX but we did a better job of coming in a little bit more focused. We’re just the kind of a team that believes we’re going to get better as the conference goes along,” he added.

Ginebra zoomed to an early 45-28 lead on the hot hands of Caperal and Aguilar before Blackwater unleashed a Mike Tolomia-led avalanche.

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