After Tim Cone’s return, Barangay Ginebra adjusted and defeated NorthPort 100-93 on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to secure a position in the best-of-three quarterfinals of the PBA Philippine Cup.
Cone and his team overcame back-to-back defeats to TNT and Meralco to secure a Top Six finish while putting NorthPort on the verge of elimination at 3-7.
In a joyful victory to welcome Cone back from his time with the Miami Heat in the NBA Summer League, guards Scottie Thompson (23 points) and John Pinto (18 points) led the scoring parade.
Thompson almost had a triple-double with 15 rebounds, eight assists, three steals, and three blocks in a fantastic all-around performance.
Pinto and Jeff Chan contributed significantly off the bench, each with 18 points (4-of-6 from outside the arc), six rebounds, and three assists.
Japeth Aguilar (14) and Christian Standhardinger (9-10-6) both contributed as starters as the Kings overcame the Magnolia Hotshots and proved they couldn’t be stopped (6-3).
On Thursday, Ginebra plays Phoenix Super LPG to end its elims run.
With a victory, the Gin Kings will be able to overtake the TNT Tropang Giga at No. 2, but owing to a lower quotient, they will have to settle for a lower seeding.
On July 10, TNT thrashed Ginebra, 106-92.
Robert Bolick scored 29 points in his second game after returning from an ankle ailment, but it was not enough to prevent the Batang Pier from suffering a significant loss.
Kevin Ferrer, Jamie Malonzo, and Arwind Santos each contributed 19, 14, and 13 for the Batang Pier, who in the beginning seemed to appreciate the initiative.
The Batang Pier won the first quarter 26-20, but the Kings found their groove and pulled away at the break, leading 47-42. (SB)
Thompson had 23, Pinto had 18, J. Aguilar had 14, Tenorio had 13, Chan had 11, Standhardinger had 9, Pringle had 8, Mariano had 4, and Dillinger had zero.
Bolick had 29, Malonzo had 19, Santos had 14, Ferrer had 13, Taha had 6, Sumang had 4, Calma had 2, and Ayaay had zero.
20–26, 47–42, 80–60, and 100–93.