Ginebra defeats SMB to narrow semis gap


MANILA – Ginebra is back in the PBA Philippine Cup title hunt.

The Barangay bounced back in Game 3 of their semifinal series against the San Miguel Beermen with a 95-87 victory at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City Tuesday night.

Ginebra gradually picked up the pace offensively as the game went on before holding off one last SMB run to cut the best-of-seven series lead of San Miguel down to 2-1.

The Barangay found their stroke early on as they opened a 19-8 lead eight minutes into the match.

The Beermen, however, closed out the first quarter with seven unanswered points to cut the lead down to four, 19-15, entering the second quarter.

Ginebra then got its offensive game going in the second and third quarters, dropping 26 and 34 points, respectively, as the squad took a 79-65 lead after three periods.

SMB still put up a fight in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead down to three, 90-87, with 2:08 to play, but a follow-up jam by Japeth Aguilar and a three-point play from LA Tenorio sealed the victory for Ginebra.

Aguilar finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds, and three assists, while Tenorio added 18 points, five rebounds, and two assists for the Barangay, who assured that a Game 5 will ensue on Saturday night at the Cuneta Astrodome, also in Pasay City.

Junemar Fajardo made 23 markers, 16 caroms, two dimes, and one steal for the Beermen who only had five turnovers as a team but made only 35.6 percent of their baskets. 

Box Scores:

Ginebra 95-Aguilar 25, Tenorio 18, Caperal 12, Cruz 12, Devance 11, Thompson 9, Mercado 8, Ferrer 0, Manuel 0

San Miguel 87-Fajardo 23, Lassiter 14, Cabagnot 13, Santos 13, Rosser 8, Ross 6, Lanete 5, Heruela 3, Espinas 2, Pessumal 0, De Ocampo 0, Mamaril 0

Quarterscores: 19-15, 45-39, 79-65, 95-87 PNA/Photo courtesy of PBA Media