|Ginebra's Chris Ellis (#34) drives against Global Port's Joshua Vanlandingham in the two squads' PBA Philippine Cup game Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum. Ginebra won, 110-90. Photo by Marc John Villanueva for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines - Barangay Ginebra, twice third-placer last season, started its campaign in PBA Season 38 in style, stamping its class on newcomer Global Port, 110-90, before a crowd of nearly 19,000 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.
The Kings made good use of their advantage on bench depth, experience and chemistry, giving the Batang Pier some neat lessons in their PBA debut.
With a well-balanced game, Ginebra dominated Global Port, leading by as many as 24 before completing the rousing victory to mark their first game with trade recruit LA Tenorio and rookie acquisitions Keith Jensen and Chris Ellis.
Tenorio, Jensen and Ellis all had sterling moments, helping Ginebra to a victorious season debut – the team’s first in the last three years.
"It feels good to start on the right foot. It feels good to win despite the opening-day distractions," said Ginebra coach Siot Tanquingcen.
The Kings dished out 32 assists – the best by the franchise in a game in four years – with 10 coming from Tenorio who also grabbed nine rebounds and canned in one field goal.
Tanquingcen also mentioned the intangibles delivered by Tenorio, saying the brilliant plays dished out by the 5-foot-8 guard made things easier for his teammates.
Reigning MVP Mark Caguioa topscored for Ginebra with 18 points with Rico Maierhofer, Billy Mamaril, Jensen, Ellis and Rudy Hatfield adding at least 11 each.
"LA really brings a lot, including poise at endgame. He made key plays when Global Port was mounting a rally. That's the reason why we worked for the trade bringing him over to us," said Tanquingcen.
Despite three new acquisitions, the Kings played a fluid-motion offense and were as impressive on the other end, holding Gary David scoreless in the first three quarters of play.
David, the league’s scoring champ in the last three seasons, scored nine points on a three-pointer and six charities in the final period as Global Port waged some charge, coming to within eight, 86-94.
Maierhofer, however, scored back-to-back baskets off crucial offensive rebounds as Ginebra quickly nipped Global Port’s challenge.
Willie Miller carried much of the fight for Global Port early on, leading all scorers with 26 points that went with five assists and four rebounds in 39 minutes of action.
Rudy Lingganay and rookie guard Alfred Mandani were the only Batang Pier who finished in double figures, making 14 and 13, respectively.
Lingganay scored all of Global Port’s first 12 markers while Mandani helped the team make a fourth-quarter charge with eight.
GINEBRA 110 - Caguioa 18, Maierhofer 14, Mamaril 14, Jensen 13, Ellis 12, Hatfield 11, Raymundo 8, Maliksi 7, Helterbrand 5, Cortez 4, Tenorio 2, Wilson 2.
GLOBAL PORT 90 - Miller 26, Lingganay 14, Mandani 13, David 9, Vanlandingham 7, Salvador 7, Al-Hussaini 4, Raymundo 2, Manuel 2, Deutchman 2, Guevarra 2, Yee 2, Adducul 0, Cruz 0.
Quarters: 26-20, 55-39, 86-64, 110-90