Gin Kings Use Balance Attack to Inch Closer to Finals
Scottie Thompson had 17 points and 12 rebounds in the win. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Just when the Ginebra faithfuls who were watching in Batangas and those who were watching on their respective TVs thought that the Gin Kings would finally take a commanding 2-0 series lead back in Game 2 of their best-of-5 semifinal series, the Talk N Text KaTropa went back to business and disappoint the crowd darlings as the KaTropa won Game 2 to tie the series at 1 game apiece.
Now, both the defending champions, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings and the KaTropa will slug it out anew to decide to will move within 1 win away from a slot in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals to dance against the already waiting Meralco Bolts.
“GI-NE-BRA! GI-NE-BRA!” These were the words that were coming from the mouth of those who were in attendance as they witnessed the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings moved within one win away from returning to the Governors’ Cup Finals after battling it out all game long to come out victorious, 106-103 against the Talk N Text KaTropa.
Wanting to make up for their sloppy start that eventually cost them Game 2, the Gin Kings went back to basics as they immediately two blocked shots and take a 13-5 lead in the first 3 minutes of the game. Coming off a timeout, Glen Rice Jr. scored the KaTropa’s next 7 points which were highlighted by 2 dunks and a 3-point shot to make 13-12 and force Tim Cone to use a timeout. Throughout the remainder of the quarter, TNT held a 3-point lead during most of the time until the KaTropa, again, started to clank away all of their shot attempts as Sol Mercado ended the first quarter with a lay-up to make it, 31-26 in favor of the Gin Kings. Glen Rice Jr. already had 14 points in the first quarter alone.
TNT began the second quarter with Jayson Castro and Glen Rice Jr. scored the first 4 points of the KaTropa as Ginebra struggled to get anything going on their offense during 3 minutes into the quarter until their inside attack started to click in as the Gin Kings were able to fish fouls from TNT defenders.
Later in the quarter, LA Tenorio drained a 3-pointer to make it 45-37 as TNT continued to struggle with their own shots and were also mered by turnovers. After hanging onto a slim margin, a shot from rainbow country by Justin Brownlee increased Ginebra’s lead to 9, at 51-42 approaching the 2-minute mark of the 2nd quarter. Then, Scottie Thompson added a lay-up to make it 55-45 with under two minutes before the halftime break.
The Gin Kings held a 60-49 advantage at the half as LA Tenorio stood the tallest for Ginebra with his 13 points to lead all Ginebra scorers. Scottie Thompson and Greg Slaughter scored 9 points apiece. What was the difference for Ginebra in the first half? Simple: Free throws. The Gin Kings were awarded 27 free throws in the first 24 minutes of action with the Gin Kings 19 of those freebies.
Glen Rice Jr. had 27 points and 9 rebounds to lead the KaTropa but no one else on the TNT team scored in double figures in the first half as Jayson Castro only managed 6 points and that was one of the primary reasons why the KaTropa fell by double digits entering the 3rd quarter.
Again, the dynamic duo of Glen Rice Jr. and Jayson started things off for Talk N Text as they joined forces to trim Ginebra’s lead to 62-56 with under 9 minutes to play in the third, leading to a Tim Cone timeout. Talk N Text continued to score as the lead went down to as low as 2-points, 69-67.
Ginebra went on to re-establish an 8-point advantage during the course of the third quarter as TNT was able to prevent Ginebra from breaking the game wide open as they kept themselves within striking distance thanks to their improving shooting from beyond the three-point line. Despite Glen Rice Jr. only scoring 2 points in the 3rd quarter, Talk N Text was only down, 85-80 heading into the final quarter.
When the 4th quarter began, Glen Rice Jr. drained another bomb from long distance and Jayson Castro added another mid-range jumper to knot the score at 85 apiece with barely a minute into the quarter. After a series of missed attempts from deep by both teams, the KaTropa finally overtook Ginebra, 91-89 on a Kelly Williams basket which followed by a Ginebra timeout with 7:05 left. A few possessions after that sequence, Scottie Thompson added another trey to give his team a 94-93 lead heading into the final 5 minutes of the game.
Then, with Ginebra clinging to a slim margin, Scottie Thompson, again, outrebounded TNT rebounders and scored on a putback to make it 101-98 with 2:09 remaining in the game. Joe Devance scored on another putback to make it 103-98 and forced Nash Racela to call another timeout with 1:33 on the clock. Then, with Jayson Castro missing on a three-point attempt on the previous possession, Joe Devance came out of nowhere to score a crucial putback to make it 105-100 with 32 ticks left on the clock.
After TNT inched closer, at 106-103 on Glen Rice Jr.’s trey with under 10 seconds left, Scottie Thompson missed both charities on the other end, leaving the door open for TNT to force an extra period but Rice Jr.’s final attempt just clanked off the rim as time expired.
Joe Devance led the Gin Kings with 20 points. Greg Slaughter came off the bench to score 19 points. Justin Brownlee had 17 points and 13 rebounds. Ginebra won because of their ability to grab offensive rebounds and score 22 points off those offensive rebounds which played an essential role in the endgame.
Glen Rice Jr.’s 44 points and 20 rebounds to lead Talk N Text went straight to the trash can as the KaTropa are just one loss away from ending their season. Jayson Castro added 17 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists but also had 4 turnovers. The game was basically equally-matched in every statistic except for one thing: points scored by bench players. The bench players of Nash Racela only managed 15 markers, a far cry to Ginebra’s bench players who combined for 28 points.
Ginebra – 106
Devance 20, Slaughter 19, Brownlee 17, Thompson 17, Tenorio 16, J. Aguilar 8, Mercado 7, Ferrer 2, Helterbrand 0, Jamito 0, Cruz 0,, Mariano 0, Caguioa 0, R. Aguilar 0, Taha 0
TNT – 103
Rice Jr. 44, Castro 17, Semerad 10, Williams 10, Rosario 7, Pogoy 7, Golla 3, Reyes 3, Seigle 2, Carey 0, Nuyles 0, Tautuaa 0, Hernandez 0, Lngganay 0, Chua 0
31-26, 60-49, 85-80, 106-103