Ginebra outs Rain or Shine in PBA Q’finals
By ADRIAN STEWART CO
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings clinched a 2017-2018 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals berth with a 99-91 win over Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in Game 2 of the best-of-three semifinals last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Japeth Aguilar top scored with double-double 27 points and 12 rebounds, Jervy Cruz chipped in 18 markers, while LA Tenorio contributed 17 points for the Kings, which swept the series 2-0.
The Kings has set up a battle with three-time defending champions San Miguel Beermen in the best-of-seven semifinals in what was a rematch of last year’s All-Filipino Conference championship encounter.
The Kings zoomed to an early advantage with Cruz, Aguilar and Joe Devance converting their shots for a 28-19 lead. The Painters then relied on Maverick Ahanmisi’s scorcing shooting in the second quarter to take a slim 46-43 halftime lead.
The Painters were still ahead by six points early in the third quarter when Tenorio and Aguilar anchored a huge Kings run to take a slim 55-53 lead. It went up to five points heading to fourth with baskets from Devance and Tenorio.
Both teams had a tight match in the fourth period with the Kings was left with just a single point lead to protect at 77-76 but they managed to pull away anew with baskets from Aguilar, Devance and Solomon Mercado to clinch the victory.
“Beating a team like Rain or Shine three in a row is really, really difficult,” said Kings head coach Tim Cone. “I am glad we were able to do it but we will now face a monster in San Miguel in the semis.”
Ahanmisi finished with 18 points, while Raymond Almazan and Eduardo Daquioag added 14 markers apiece for Painters, which was hurt with the absence of injured key players James Yap and Chris Tiu.