Defending champ Ginebra rallies to frustrate Phoenix

Photo from PBA

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel brought life back to its title-retention bid after orchestrating a signature comeback in the fourth quarter to edge Phoenix Super LPG, 94-87, Wednesday, Sept. 15 in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.

The Gin Kings had to scratch their way back from being down 19 late in the first quarter behind Stanley Pringle, LA Tenorio, Christian Standhardinger and Scottie Thompson in order to get an all-important win at this point of a trying campaign for the defending champions.

Ginebra moved to a tie for seventh place with idle NLEX at 4-5 after disappointing setbacks to San Miguel Beer and TNT.

Coach Tim Cone’s wards also went into the game without the services of Japeth Aguilar, who sprained his MCL against TNT.

“For us, it was a big game. We needed that, obviously, not just to move up into the standings but also to create a positive feeling around the team,” a relieved Cone said in the virtual postgame interview.

Pringle scored 31 points, including a basket that broke an 87-all tie with two minutes remaining, while Tenorio bounced back from a scoreless outing opposite TNT by firing 23 points.

Standhardinger had 21 points and 12 rebounds in his solo role patrolling the middle in Aguilar’s absence and Thompson registered 12 points and 11 rebounds, some of which allowed Ginebra to retain possession during the crucial moments.

Jason Perkins’ 30 points and Matthew Wright’s 18 weren’t enough to complete the job as Phoenix dropped a contest where it led for most of the way before running out of gas in the end to fall in ninth spot at 4-6.

It seemed like Ginebra was heading for a third straight loss that would paint a more gloomier picture to its campaign as Phoenix raced to a hot start and led 33-14 near the end of the period.

Ginebra trimmed the gap to 52-46 at the break after Thompson’s three at the break, but Phoenix stayed in control until early in the fourth when Chua’s basket made it 80-69.

But Ginebra responded on a 14-1 burst to take the lead on Standhardinger’s basket with 5:38 to go as Phoenix went cold, missing all eight shots.

A back-and-forth ensued until Thompson kept the ball to Ginebra with a pair of offensive boards that led to Pringle’s go-ahead shot and Tenorio’s three-pointer that made it 92-87 with a minute remaining.

The scores:

GINEBRA 94 — Pringle 31, Tenorio 23, Standhardinger 21, Thompson 12, Mariano 3, Tolentino 2, Dillinger 2, Caperal 0, Devance 0.

PHOENIX 87 — Perkins 30, Wright 18, Jazul 15, Chua 12, Calisaan 3, Melecio 3, Banchero 2,  Pascual 2, Demusis 2,  Tamsi 0, Garcia 0

Quarters: 16-33, 46-52, 69-76, 94-87.