DEFENDING CHAMPION Barangay Ginebra San Miguel overpowered Phoenix Super LPG, 95-85, on Saturday to earn the last quarterfinal ticket in the playoff round of Season 46 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Gin Kings found a way to match the intensity of the Fuel Masters throughout the game despite playing without Japeth Aguilar (medial collateral ligament) and Scottie Thompson (health and safety protocols) to set up a playoff battle with No. 1 twice-to-beat holder TNT Tropang Giga in the quarterfinals.
Big man Prince Caperal stepped up in Aguilar’s absence by firing away 19 points, while Stanley Pringle came away with 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Christian Standhardinger racked up 15 points, 12 rebounds, but committed seven turnovers for Ginebra.
“We have that next man up mentality ever since. So when there’s an injured player, I have to step up,” Caperal said.
The Gin Kings unleashed a blazing 27-18 scoring in the second canto to provide them with a 49-38 halftime cushion. And they were able to control the pace of the game to seal the victory.
Jared Dillinger also had 13 points for the Gin Kings.
“This is what we expected, we didn’t expect to be in this kind of game coming into this thing. But you have a choice , you either keep going or back off. And our guys decided to keep going,” Cone added.
Ginebra wasn’t the only team that infested by injuries. Phoenix also played without Vic Manuel (groin injury) and big man Justin Chua (health and safety protocols), while the Fuel Masters were a struggling team in the offensive end registering an atrocious 32-of-96 shooting from the field compared to Ginebra’s 37-of-74.
Jason Perkins led the Fuel Masters with 15 points and eight rebounds.