Barangay Ginebra displayed tremendous resolve in crunch time pulling away with a 93-86 win against the Star Hotshots in Game 4 of the best-of-seven semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday. The Gin Kings’ victory equalized the series at 2-2
Power forward Jervy Cruz stepped up to lead the Gin Kings with 21 points and six rebounds while the 6’8 Japeth Aguilar scored 18 points including three crucial baskets in the pivotal minutes on top of 10 rebounds.
Ginebra Coach Tim Cone commended his wards for overcoming a 0-2 deficit.
“It wasn’t about LA (Tenorio) and Japeth (Aguilar), it’s all about the other guys tonight,” said Cone during the postgame interview. “The void is being filled by other guys, that’s huge for us. Sol (Mercado) did a good job on Paul (Lee).”
Chris Ellis finished with 10 points, while Kevin Ferrer and Solomon Mercado had nine points each also for the Gin Kings.
“Paul is a dynamic scorer but Sol is a dynamic defender too. I don’t know how we quite did it but it seems like we’re in control most of the way. Joe (Devance) only had a half in him today. I think I overplayed him a bit in the first half that kind of blew it. He’s kinda giving us an emotional lift.”
After trailing by two points, 21-23, at the end of the opening period, the Gin Kings outscored the Hotshots, 27-18, behind the impressive performance of Cruz resulting in a 48-41 lead at halftime. Ginebra kept the lead until the end of third frame, 65-62, behind Cruz’s seven points.
Aguilar, then, took charge in the last canto by posting 12 points to ward off the Star Hotshots’ comeback attempt. Aguilar’s back-to-back jumpers handed the Gin Kings an 89-81 cushion entering the final 1:19 of the game and they were never threatened from thereon.
Allein Maliksi finished with 18 points to lead the Star Hotshots.
GINEBRA: 93 – Cruz 21, Aguilar 18, Ellis 10, Ferrer 9, Mercado 9, Tenorio 8, Marcelo 5, Caguioa 5, Thompson 4, Devance 4.
STAR: 86 – Maliksi 18, Jalalon 16, Reavis 13, Lee 9, Pingris 9, Melton 7, Barroca 4, Ramos 4, Sangalang 4, Dela Rosa 2, Simon 0.
Quarter scores: 21-23, 48-41, 65-62, 93-86.