Ginebra's Japeth Aguilar hangs after a slam versus Air21. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
5:45 p.m. – San Miguel Beer vs Barako Bull
8 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Talk n Text
MANILA, Philippines - Greg Slaughter outdueled Asi Taulava, and Zaccheus Mason came up with timely hits as Barangay Ginebra topped Air21, 84-76, in a showdown of unbeaten teams to seize the solo lead in the PBA PLDT Home Telpad Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.
Slaughter beat Taulava in a battle for a crucial rebound with a minute left to play and came through with a three-point play to cap an efficient all-around game, helping propel the Kings to their third straight win.
Outplayed by Dominique Sutton in the first half, Mason turned things around in the final half as he also helped Ginebra keep its perfect record under new coach Jeffrey Cariaso.
“We struggled throughout and it’s nice to be able to grind out the win,” said Cariaso after his troops held off the Express and sent them to down to joint second place with the Alaska Milk Aces, the San Miguel Beermen and the San Mig Coffee Mixers at 2-1.
Earlier, San Mig Coffee shackled Meralco gunners Gary David and Jared Dillinger and unleashed a mighty run in a five-minute stretch bridging the last two quarters to pull off a 108-90 win and climb back to the upper half of the chart.
The Bolts threatened to within two at 67-69 late in the third period but the Mixers scored all the next 15 points of the game to break away for good and bounce back from a 90-92 heartbreaker against the San Miguel Beermen the last time out.
It was the Mixers’ second win in three starts in the season-ending tourney as they overcame Marc Pingris’ ejection in the second quarter due to a flagrant infraction and Mario West’s 31-point effort in his return to Meralco.
But David struggled for just six points and Dillinger ended up with a fat zero as the Bolts dropped to 0-4.
With their record now, the Bolts are virtually out in the fight for the Top Four. They need to land a place in the next four to salvage a spot in the post-elims play.
“One very good character of our team is its ‘bounce-back-ability,’” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone, elated with their response to their loss to San Miguel Beer Sunday.
At the same time, Cone expressed disappointment over the infractions committed by Pingris and Rafi Reavis on Meralco center James Sena.
The Mixers, however, dished out a well-balanced game that the Bolts just couldn’t match, enabling San Mig to win with plenty to spare.
Pingris scored 10 points before being tossed out of the game after hitting Sena on the back in retaliation to a hard pick drawn from the Meralco player with 3:15 left in the first half.
Meanwhile, Talk n Text, failing to work on Othyus Jeffers’ release papers from the NBA, parades a new import in Rodney Carney as it tangles with Rain or Shine tonight at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna.
Carney and the Tropang Texters battle AZ Reid and the Elasto Painters at 8 p.m. after the 5:45 p.m. match between San Miguel Beer and Barako Bull.