Ginebra overcomes TNT in OT to take series opener

Scottie Thompson of Barangay Ginbera goes for a shot against three TNT defenders during Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Finals. (PBA Images)

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel came up with big plays when it mattered to outlast TNT in overtime, 100-94, Sunday night for a 1-0 lead in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.

With the game hanging in the balance, floor general LA Tenorio came through with the key assists that allowed the Kings to force a five-minute extension and later gain the necessary cushion to see off the Tropang Giga and draw first blood in the best-of-seven series.

Eyeing his first All-Filipino crown, Tenorio found a cutting Arvin Tolentino for a layup with 5.0 seconds left that eventually sent the title series opener inside Smart Clark Giga City into overtime knotted at 92-all.

He kept his role in the extra session, finding Aljon Mariano off a tight-angled pass that made it 98-94 with under a minute left before dishing it off to Best Player of the Game Japeth Aguilar for the slam that sealed the deal for Ginebra.

Tenorio finished with 12 points, five rebounds and 10 assists to emerge as one of the major reasons for Ginebra’s triumph.

Aguilar had 25 points and 16 rebounds, Stanley Pringle put up 24 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals, semifinal series hero Scottie Thompson had 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists while Tolentino scored 14.

Ginebra won a contest that saw 15 ties and 21 lead changes as TNT was able to erase a nine-point deficit in the third quarter through Statistical Points race leader Ray Parks Jr. and even led 91-90 late in the fourth after back-to-back threes by Jay Washington and another from Jayson Castro.

Parks finished with 20 points, four rebounds, five steals and two blocks but cooled off in the fourth and overtime after hitting 10 in a row at one point in the third that saw TNT rallying from being down 60-51.

RR Pogoy had 19 points, Washington scored 14 points and Castro added 12 points and five assists for the Tropang Giga.

Washington’s back-to-back threes allowed TNT to tie the score at 88-all before Pringle answered to put Ginebra back in the driver seat. Castro, though, unloaded a three of his own to make it 91-90 for the Tropang Giga, 36.6 left in the fourth.

Pringle turned the ball over on the next play, Parks escaped a traveling infraction and was forced into a jumpball but won the tip that gave possession to TNT. He was later fouled but made just one of two free throws to make it a two-point game 92-90.

Tenorio used Aguilar’s pick, drove into the lane before dishing it off to Tolentino, who cut from the right corner to convert an easy lay-in. TNT tried to end it but Castro couldn’t make a running bank shot before time expired.

The first few possessions of the overtime saw Pringle and Aguilar scoring back-to-back baskets for a 96-92 Ginebra lead. Pogoy later scored TNT’s only field goal of the extension before Tenorio set up the key baskets of Mariano and Aguilar.

The scores:

GINEBRA 100 — Aguilar 25, Pringle 24, Thompson 15, Tolentino 14, Tenorio 12, Mariano 6, Chan 2, Devance 2, Caperal 0.

TNT 94 — Parks 20, Pogoy 19, Washington 14, Castro 12, Erram 10, Enciso 9,Rosario 8, Semerad 2, Montalbo 0, Reyes 0.

Quarters: 22-27, 41-41, 66-71, 92-92 (Reg), 100-94 (OT).