BOCAUE, Bulacan – Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings withstood a huge second half run by TNT KaTropa to score a 90-79 victory at the start of the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup last night at the Philippine Arena here.
Japeth Aguilar led the way with 21 points, Gregory Slaughter added 15 markers, while Solomon Mercado and Earl Scottie Thompson combined for 20 points for the Kings.
The Kings leaned on early hits by Aguilar, Tenorio and Slaughter for a 14-8 start. The lead grew further to 28-12 late in the opening period on back-to-back hits by rookie Bernabe Teodoro.
Kings surged to its largest lead at 44-26 midway in the second quarter following shots from Aguilar, Slaughter and Mercado. Consecutive points from Celedonio Trollano pulled the KaTropa to within 42-49 at the half.
KaTropa continued its run in the third quarter to threaten to within 57-59 on back-to-back hits by Roger Pogoy. Conversions by Tenorio and Mercado gave the Kings some breathing room at 63-57.
KaTropa were still hanging around at 64-69 early in the fourth when the Kings made a huge run behind Aguilar, Slaughter, Thompson and Mercado to increase the lead to 90-73.
Pogoy finished with 20 points, while Jayson Castro and Trollano added 17 and 15 points, respectively, for the KaTropa./PN