Barangay Ginebra San Miguel registered its best start in 34 years after beating Phoenix Super LPG, 86-71, Wednesday night in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
Stanley Pringle continued to be one of the team’s consistent players with 20 points, three rebounds and three assists, Prince Caperal had 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while Scottie Thompson added 11 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals as Ginebra improved to 4-0.
Japeth Aguilar contributed 13 points and five rebounds even as LA Tenorio added nine points, four rebounds and four assists, another sign that the two are slowly inching their way back to form.
Ginebra rejoined idle TNT on top of the standings and in the process registered the franchise’s best start since winning its first PBA title in the 1986 Open Conference under playing coach Robert Jaworski and imports Billy Ray Bates and Michael Hackett.
The win also served as a good preparation for Sunday’s marquee matchup with Magnolia.
Phoenix suffered its second straight loss after a 2-0 start, and Ginebra coach Tim Cone felt his team was able to face a worn-down opponent.
“It was scary. They (Phoenix) looked scary, but you can see them getting tired,” said Cone, whose team took on a Phoenix squad that blew a double-digit lead in a 110-91 loss to TNT two nights prior.
“As much as I liked our defense tonight, I had to give an assist to (TNT) for wearing them out. But we’ll take it,” he added.
Ginebra’s defense was able to limit Phoenix’s topscorer Matthew Wright, who could only show 12 points on 5-of-17 from the field, his worst shooting clip since entering the bubble. Wright was averaging 30.0 points on a 44-percent clip in the first three games.
Jason Perkins had 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists for the Fuel Masters.
GINEBRA 86 — Pringle 20, Caperal 14, Aguilar J. 13, Thompson 11, Tenorio 9, Devance 8, Tolentino 5, Mariano 4, Dillinger 2, Chan 0, Balanza 0, Aguilar R. 0, Salado 0.
PHOENIX 71 — Perkins 15, Wright 12, Chua 11, Intal 9, Heruela 7, Garcia 5, Jazul 5, Rios 3, Marcelo 2, Napoles 2, Reyes 0, Gamboa 0.
Quarters: 20-19, 47-36, 64-54, 86-71.