MANILA – Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings hacked out a come-from-behind 100-97 escape from Phoenix Fuel Masters in the 2019 Honda PBA Philippine Cup last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Two free throws each from Jervy Cruz and Aljon Mariano inside the final minute of the match served well the Kings after trailing by double figures early in the match.
Behind by as much as 10 points late in the second period, the Kings started strong in the third quarter behind Gregory Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio to seize the lead at 58-57.
Fuel Masters created distance anew early in the fourth at 84-76 after a triple by Jason Perkins. Kings then relied on inside conversions by Mariano and triples by Tenorio to take a 94-93 lead.
Fuel Masters regained the advantage on hits from Matthew Wright and Justin Chua but a Slaughter hit followed by free throws by Cruz and Mariano gave the Kings the 100-97 edge before Wright misfired his three-point try.
Tenorio led the way with 23 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Mariano finished with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Slaughter had 18 points and 11 boards for the Kings (4-3).
Calvin Abueva had double-double 15 points and 11 rebounds. Douglas Kramer added 14 markers,while Rafael Jazul and Chua had 13 points each for the Fuel Masters, which dropped to 8-2.
In the first game, defending champions San Miguel Beermen overcame a paltry start to score a come-from-behind 113-107 against NorthPort Batang Pier for its fourth straight win.
After being down by as much as 13 points, the Beermen started its rally in the third period behind June Mar Fajardo, Terrence Romeo and Marcio Lassiter for its largest lead at 83-68.
Batang Pier made its last push to come to as close as 103-105 after a triple by Stanley Pringle and inside hits by Moala Tautuaa but back-to-back inside hits by Fajardo and a three pointer by Chris Ross sealed the win for the Beermen.
Fajardo finished with double-double 40 points and 19 rebounds, while Romeo added 23 markers, including five triples, for the Beermen (6-3).
Tautuaa tallied double-double 28 points and 13 rebounds for the Batang Pier (2-5)./PN