MANILA, Philippines—Defense became Barangay Ginebra’s key to the quarterfinals door as it drowned out Phoenix, 95-85, for the last playoff slot in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup Saturday at DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Gin Kings had a singular mindset heading into the all-important matchup and that was to stop Matthew Wright from getting into any rhythm, and the defending champions did just that.
Wright still managed to get 14 points but faced heavy defensive pressure as he shot just 5-of-22 from the field.
“We have a white board in the locker room and we had one name on that, it was right with a W,” said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone. “He was obviously our target tonight.”
“We did our best to play as a team, not just one-on-one.”
It wasn’t just Wright who had a terrible shooting night as his whole team went 32-of-96 from the field.
The Gin Kings had a pivotal second quarter as they mounted an 18-8 run to take a 49-38 lead heading into the break.
First-time starter Prince Caperal proved crucial for the Gin Kings as he led his side with 19 points while Stanley Pringle had 17 points, eight rebounds, and four assists.
Christian Standhardinger held the paint for Ginebra with 15 points and 12 boards.
Jason Perkins led Phoenix’ scoring with 15 points, to go along eight boards, but he too struggled going 5-of-14 from the field.
Ginebra is the first defending champion to enter the playoffs as the no.8 team since San Miguel did the feat in the 2005-06 Fiesta Conference.
The Beermen, however, lost to Air21 2-1 in the best-of-three quarterfinals.
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