ANTIPOLO CITY — Barangay Ginebra San Miguel snatched victory away from Blackwater, 85-82, and opened its PBA Philippine Cup campaign on a high note Sunday, June 12 at the Ynares Center here.
Japeth Aguilar scored the go-ahead jumper with 8.2 seconds remaining as last season’s Governors’ Cup champion survived the upset scare of the Bossing, who were actually leading by three entering the final minute.
Two turnovers committed by Baser Amer sandwiched between Aguilar’s jumper that made it 83-82 proved to be costly as Blackwater fell short of another gigantic victory and a 2-0 start in the season-opening conference.
Instead, Ginebra gave itself a winning start in its quest to win back the All-Filipino crown.
But Ginebra had to weather the tough challenge posed by Blackwater, which was coming off an unlikely victory over TNT last Thursday.
“They had a big win against TNT, we knew they were gonna be confident, we knew they'll have momentum on their side,” said coach Tim Cone.
“Just watching them on video, they're playing really, really good basketball. You can't get anything easy from them, and they really execute offensively. We knew we had to battle, and it could end up being harder than we thought,” added Cone.
Christian Standhardinger scored 21 points while Season 46 Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson nearly had a triple-double with 14 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists.
Aguilar made 15 points and six rebounds while Stanley Pringle returned to action after missing all but one game in the Governors’ Cup with nine points and 12 rebounds.
Ginebra also won on the night LA Tenorio made his 700th appearance without missing a game in his PBA career. He had five points and four assists off the bench.
Blackwater could only settle on splitting its first two games, but it appeared that another victory was in the offing when Joshua Torralba scored a turnaround shot from the baseline for an 82-79 lead, a minute remaining.
Thompson made two freethrows after being fouled by Jvee Casio to cut the Ginebra deficit to a point, then things unraveled for Amer when his pass down low was too high and the ball went out of bounds.
That allowed Aguilar to hit an elbow shot from about 21 feet for an 83-82 edge, delighting the Gin Kings faithful. Amer tried to put the Bossing back in the lead, but the ball hit his foot resulting in a turnover.
GINEBRA 85 — Standhardinger 21, Aguilar J. 15, Thompson 14, Tolentino 12, Pringle 9, Mariano 6, Tenorio 5, Pinto 3, Chan 0, Caperal 0.
BLACKWATER 82 — Suerte 15, Torralba 14, Amer 11, Ular 10, McCarthy 9, Sena 9, Ebona 3, Ayonayon 2, Publico 0, Escoto 0, Melton 0, Casio 0.
Quarters: 22-16, 39-39, 61-67, 85-82.