BARANGAY Ginebra shook off a sluggish start to defeat Meralco, 83-72, in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup at the University of San Agustin Gym in Iloilo City on Saturday.
Power forward Joe Devance led the Gin Kings with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting in the field on top of six rebounds, while playmaker LA Tenorio finished with 18 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Ginebra improved its win-loss record to 4-4.
Japeth Aguilar tallied 17 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Solomon Mercado had nine points while Earl Scottie Thompson contributed seven points, 16 rebounds and seven assists also for Ginebra.
The Bolts were enjoying a 23-14 lead at the end of first quarter behind Reynel Hugnatan’s 11 points in the opening period. But the Gin Kings fought back to snatch the lead, 39-32, through the three-pointer of Tenorio with 3:11 to go before the halftime break.
Meralco answered with an 8-0 run capped by the three-pointer of rookie Ed Daquioag resulting in a slim 40-39 lead at the end of first half.
Ginebra dominated Meralco in the second period, 25-17, and sustained its winning momentum throughout the remaining minutes of the match.
Veteran Mark Caguioa sparked a an 11-3 run giving the Gin Kings a 51-42 lead with 5:45 left in the third canto.
Hugnatan and Chris Newsome scored crucial baskets to reduce the gap, 50-56, at the start of third quarter.
But Ginebra’s firepower was too much for the Bolts with Mercado, Aguilar and Devance piercing Meralco’s defense. The Gin Kings were comfortably leading in the fourth period, 65-56, with still 6:34 to go.
Ginebra further pulled away, 72-60, with 4:36 to go after Thompson’s split charities. The Gin Kings successfully defended their lead until the endgame.
Hugnatan finished with 18 points to lead Meralco while Chris Newsome had 14 points and nine rebounds.
The Bolts’ win-loss record dropped to 2-7 after absorbing their sixth consecutive loss.