PBA: Ginebra survives early jitters to pick up 1st win

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 17 2023 10:34 PM | Updated as of Nov 18 2023 12:31 AM

Barangay Ginebra plays against Converge in the PBA Commissioner's Cup on Friday. Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

(UPDATED) Barangay Ginebra got huge numbers from Christian Standhardinger and import Tony Bishop to put away Converge, 100-86, in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Friday.

Bishop led the way with 34 points and 12 rebounds in his first game with the Gin Kings as a replacement for Justin Brownlee.

Standhardinger had 25 markers, 17 of them coming in the first quarter alone. The Fil-German also brought down 16 boards.

It was Ginebra's first outing in over six months after the league came off a lengthy break for the FIBA World Cup and the Asian Games.

The Gin Kings had a shaky start with only Christian Standhardinger performing as they trailed the FiberXers by 5 points in the first quarter, 30-25.

Tony Bishop and Japeth Aguilar made their presence felt in the second quarter for Ginebra, tying the count 39 all. 

Jerrick Balanza and Mike Nieto pushed the FiberXers ahead, but Stanley Pringle's triple started a 9-0 surge for the Kings that gave Ginebra a 54-50 lead.

After staring at a 66-58 deficit midway through the third canto, Balanza and Justin Arana pieced together a 7-0 run to pull Converge to within 66-65.

Bishop then completed a three-point play and started a 9-0 blitz that created a 13 point-separation for the Kings, 80-67, going to the payoff period.

Aldin Ayo's wards played a grind out game in the final frame but could get no closer than eight points against the defending champion Ginebra.

Ginebra coach Tim Cone admitted that the team were not yet sure of themselves in their foray into this season.

"We did worry because they already had a couple of games under their belt, we're just coming from practice," he said during the post-game press conference.

"We didn't know what to expect from ourselves. (Converge) came off extremely well in the first half and we just had a hard time keeping up. But we found our rhythm in the second half especially on the defensive side and we were able to go."

Cone said they will have to prepare for a much tougher match against unbeaten Magnolia that made mincemeat out of NorthPort in the curtain raiser, 112-74.

"Now we have a quick turnaround and have to go after the undefeated for a long long time (Magnolia)," he said.