Greg Slaughter of Ginebra tries to score again Rico Maeirhofer, Denok Iranda and JC Intal of Barako in their PBA Philippine Cup game. Photo by Nuki Sabio, PBA Images.
MANILA, Philippines - Emman Monfort, playing briefly in the second half, provided the hustle and the spark Barangay Ginebra badly needed as the Kings once again reigned over the Barako Bull Energy Cola, 90-83, to close in on playoffs top seeding in the PLDT MyDSL PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.
Coming off the bench late in the third period, Monfort played the role of a spark plug, keying a searing rally that carried the Kings to the threshold of a first-place finish in the elimination round with a 10-2 card.
Another win in their last two games, versus Globalport and Talk n Text, assures the Gin Kings a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
“We dictated the tempo at the start then got rattled with their zone defense. But we stuck with our game plan, and we turning aggressive on the entry of Emman (Monfort) helped a lot,” said Ginebra coach Ato Agustin.
Monfort unloaded two three-point bombs to help ignite a run that had the Kings overcoming a 10-point deficit, 60-70, early in the fourth quarter.
Taking the cue from Monfort, Jayjay Helterbrand, Chris Ellis and Japeth Aguilar also got going, and the Kings went on to deal the Energy Cola an eighth loss against five wins.
Earlier, Kelly Nabong came through with a second straight double-double game in the absence of Jay Washington, giving Globalport tremendous lift as the Batang Pier upended the Alaska Milk Aces, 91-88, in overtime for a guaranteed playoff shot at the last quarterfinal berth.
Nabong collected 13 points and 10 rebounds, and made the biggest plays at crunch time, enabling the Batang Pier to snap out of a five-game losing skein and put one foot into the post-elims play with a 5-8 record.
Globalport automatically secures a spot in the Final Eight with an upset of Barangay Ginebra on Friday or a loss by Alaska (4-9) to Barako Bull Sunday.
“We’ll be there fighting (against Ginebra). We’re able to compete with them in the first round and we just faltered at the finish,” said Globalport coach Ritchie Ticzon.