ANGELES City — Barangay Ginebra opened its campaign in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup in style, pulling off an inspiring 102-92 win over NLEX at the Angeles University Sports Arena and Cultural Center.
Seven players, led by Aljon Mariano, produced double-digit scores for the Gin Kings, who played well enough to join Talk N Text as opening-day winners in the first-ever PBA games played in an NBA-inspired bubble after seven months of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mariano matched his career-high with 20 points, including nine straight points in the payoff period, to help the Gin Kings to stave off a determined rally by the Road Warriors.
Stanley Pringle, Scottie Thompson and Jared Dillinger added 12 points apiece, and Prince Caperal, Jeff Chan and Joe de Vance contributed 11 points each for Ginebra, which made 39 of its 80 attempts for 48 percent. NLEX went 34 -of-85 for 40 percent.
“We played a lot better than I thought we would, but I still hope we could play a lot better than what we did tonight,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
“But it’s nice to get that first one against NLEX. I hope this gets off on the right foot, hopefully move us forward and get us to our next game with a little more confidence,” added Cone.
Actually, Ginebra led by as many as 16 points, 80-64, on a driving layup by Chan with 2:30 left in the third quarter.
But a crippling 18-5 run trigerred by Kevin Alas bridging the third and fourth quarters enabled the Road Warriors to cut the deficit to 82-85.
Caperal hit a three-pointer — his third — and Mariano scored seven straight points, including a three-point play off a foul by Raul Soyud, in a counter 10-0 run to make it 95-82 JR Quinahan, who topscored for NLEX with 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting, was thrown out of the court after committing his second technical foul iate in the third period.
Alas added 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists.for the Road Warriors.
But his backcourt partner, Kiefer Ravena, managed only six points, four rebounds in 31 unproductive minutes.
Earlier, Jayson Castro scored six of his 28 points in the final 1:01 of the game and Roger Pogoy finished with a career-high 45 points as Talk N Text rallied from a 17-point deficit to bring down Alaska Milk, 100-95.
Ginebra (102) — Mariano 20, Pringle 12, Thompson 12, Caperal 11, Chan 11, Devance 11, Aguilar 7, Tolentino 5, Tenorio 1, R. Aguilar 0, Balanza 0.
NLEX (92) — Quinahan 26, Alas 16, Cruz 11, Porter 9, Soyud 7, Ravena 6, Semerad 5, Miranda 4, Ighalo 3, Galanza 3, Ayonayon 2, Paniamogan 0.
Quarterscores: 31-22, 48-48, 83-75, 102-92.