MANILA, Philippines – BARANGAY Ginebra just needed a hot start in dismantling the overhauled Sta. Lucia Realty squad, 102-85, for its second straight win in the KFC-PBA Fiesta Conference Sunday night at the Araneta Coliseum.
Import Mildon Ambres led the Kings’ balanced attack with 21 points, 14 coming in the third period that helped his team maintain the double-digit lead in the contest.
Ronald Tubid and Jayjay Helterbrand each had 17 markers for Ginebra, which improved its mark to 6-4. Tubid was 5-of-5 from the rainbow territory.
“We did something positive today but it’s hard to make a judgment kasi siyempre nawalan ng players ang Sta. Lucia,” said Kings head coach Jong Uichico. He was referring to Kelly Williams and Ryan Reyes, who were traded last week to Talk ‘N Text.
“It’s really hard to play kapag nawala ang core ng team kaya I think we just played more as a team today,” he added.
Williams and Reyes, along with SLR’s rookie Charles Waters, were part of the 9-player, 3-team deal last week that also involved Barako Coffee.
In return, the Realtors got Ali Peek, Nic Belasco, Pong Escobal and Ogie Menor, who all, except for Aljamal, struggled in their first game in Sta. Lucia uniforms.
Aljamal finished with 12 points but the four combined for just 11 points.
Behind the hot shooting of Tubid and Helterbrand, Ginebra quickly built a 27-13 in the first 12 minutes and took a 51-37 halftime lead despite Ambres scoring just 3 points.
But the Kings unloaded 14 of the team’s first 19 points in the third quarter as they finally broke away with a 70-50 lead, 4:05 remaining in that stage.
The Realtors trimmed the gap at 70-81 on Aljamal’s three-pointer but Ginebra answered back with a 14-0 run capped by Caguioa’s breakaway layup that sealed the win for the Kings, 93-70, 4:47 left.
Anthony Johnson led Sta. Lucia with 31 points and 9 rebounds but failed to get the needed support from the locals. Gabby Espinas chipped in 13 for the Realtors, who dropped to 4-6.
SMB nails 8th straight win
As expected, San Miguel Beer manhandled Barako Coffee, 104-80, for its 8th straight win to stay at the top of the team standing with 9-1 win-loss mark.
Gabe Freemen scored 23 points in just 19 minutes and anchored the Beermen’s surge in the second period to mold the lopsided victory. Freeman also had 8 rebounds and 4 blocks in a very efficient performance.
Anthony Washington added 13 while Dondon Hontiveros and Danny Ildefonso each had 12 markers for SMB.
Sammy Monroe paced the Coffee Masters with 20 points. Aries Dimaunahan and new recruit Mark Isip netted 16 and 10 markers respectively for Barako Coffee, which fell to 2-8, still a game ahead over the slumping Air21 (1-9).