Barangay Ginebra San Miguel gained a share of the lead after winning the second game of a back-to-back at the expense of NorthPort, 112-100,Wednesday night in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
Eight players scored in double figures led by Stanley Pringle’s 17 points as Ginebra leaned on a strong second quarter finish to take control of the match and become the second team to virtually secure a place in the quarterfinals.
Ginebra also joined TNT on top of the standings with identical 6-2 slates. Incidentally, the two teams will square off on Friday in a possible finals preview.
Coach Tim Cone and the Kings swept the difficult situation of playing in consecutive days, beginning with an 87-81 comeback victory over the Alaska Aces.
But Ginebra had to deal with a NorthPort squad that played well in the first half, leading 23-13 in the first quarter and 44-37 in the second, before making a late charge in the second quarter with a 20-4 run to take a 57-48 halftime lead.
“Getting the energy is like pulling teeth. It’s really difficult getting that energy early in the basketball game. NorthPort was coming off a blowout and they had something to prove not just to us and everyone else but to themselves so I thought they came out with a lot of emotion,” Cone said.
Cone was referring to the way the Batang Pier were crushed, 112-87, by the Tropang Giga the other day in one of the most lopsided games of inside the bubble known as Smart Clark Giga City.
NorthPort dropped to 1-6 despite 23 points each from Christian Standhardinger and Kevin Ferrer.
Aljon Mariano had 15 points, five rebounds and seven assists, Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio scored 13 points each, with the latter dishing out seven assists, and Scottie Thompson put in 11 points, six rebounds and eight assists.
Veteran forward Joe Devance was the other player in double digits with 12 points which he did in 14 minutes.
Ginebra’s biggest lead was 96-77 on rookie Jerick Balanza’s three with eight minutes left. NorthPort tried to make a run when it cut the deficit to eight twice, the last on Standhardinger’s basket for 104-96, 2:35 to go.
The run, however, was way too late for the Batang Pier.
GINEBRA 112 — Pringle 17, Mariano 15, Tenorio 13, Aguilar 13, Devance 12, Thompson 11, Balanza 5, Dillinger 5, Caguioa 0, Tolentino 0.
NORTHPORT 100 — Standhardinger 23, Ferrer 23, Lanete 19, Subido 15, Taha 9, Cruz 4, Manganti 2, Revilla 0, Elorde 0.
Quarters: 23-29, 57-48, 84-75, 112-100.