Barangay Ginebra ended Meralco’s three-game winning streak with a convincing 103-90 win against the latter on Wednesday in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Center Greg Slaughter led Ginebra with 21 points. Playmaker LA Tenorio posted 20 points while Japeth Aguilar contributed 14 points to improve the Gin Kings’ win-loss record to 7-4, assuring them of a better seeding in the playoff round.
Veteran Mark Caguioa notched 16 points, import Othyus Jeffers had 11 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists while Chris Ellis added 10 points also for Ginebra.
Despite the loss, the Bolts are still assured of one of the two top spots with a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals. Meralco finished the elimination round with an 8-3 win-loss record.
Rookie Chris Newsome led Meralco with 23 points.
In the first game, freshman Mark Cruz delivered a stellar performance to allow the Purefoods Star Hotshots to bag the last quarterfinals slot with an 86-73 victory against the Mahindra Enforcers.
Cruz scored 14 of his 18 points in the pivotal fourth quarter, including three important triples under the last five-minute mark.
“I just did my best whenever the coach ask me to play,” the former 5’5 Letran ace guard Cruz told The Manila Times. “This is not an ordinary college ballgame. You have to give your best anytime they pick you up [off the bench].”
Cruz, who led the Letran Knights to victory in last year’s National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball championship, so far had five games in the Philippine Cup and six games in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Import Ricardo Ratliffe finished with 24 points,16 rebounds and three assists. The Hotshots ended the conference with a 5-6 win-loss record enough for them to take the eighth spot.
“Even if we need to win twice against our opponent in our next game, at least we are there, and we’re fighting. We are still alive,” said Star Hotshots coach Jason Webb during the postgame interview. “Let us not forget about the God-given heart my guys have.”
Center Ian Sanggalang and Allein Maliksi contributed 12 and 11 points, respectively, while veteran Peter June Simon added eight points also for the Star Hotshots.
Mahindra, with the loss, ended the elimination round with a 4-7 win-loss record failing to reach the playoff round for the fifth time since joining the league two years ago as an expansion team.
Aldrech Ramos, import August Gilchrist and Karl Dehesa scored 13 points apiece to lead the Enforcers.