SLR 86, Ginebra 89

On: 09 October 2008

PBA's 34th Season

Ginebra Kings' backcourt generals Jayjay Helterbrand and Paul Artadi made sure Barangay Ginebra coach Jong Uichico will not start the season on a losing note. Both players carried the undermanned Barangay Ginebra back from a 12-point third quarter deficit to pull off an 89-86 win against Sta. Lucia in Wednesday's (08 October) second game in the KFC-PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

Already hurting minus key players Mark Caguioa, Junthy Valenzuela, Billy Mamaril and Rafi Reavis, the Gin Kings found plenty of inspiration from Helterbrand and Artadi's second half scoring exploits.

In a game that featured two teams that split last season's championships -- Sta. Lucia is the defending Philippine Cup winner while Ginebra bagged the import-laden Fiesta Conference crown -- the Gin Kings completed the win by limiting their turnovers.

Ginebra cagers actually started the Fiesta Conference losing its first five games before going on a 13-game winning streak that put them into the finals where they won their eighth franchise crown.

Trailing by 12 at 47-35, after Dennis Miranda's basket early in the third period, Ginebra answered with a telling 25-13 run that tied the game for the first time. Sunday Salvacion's put back off his own miss knotted the count at 60-all with 3:44 to go in the third quarter.

Artadi's layup ignited that scoring run while Helterbrand's back-to-back three-pointers highlighted the Ginebra comeback.

Both teams traded baskets from there with Ginebra keeping the game close as their zone defense prevented Sta. Lucia from pulling away because its shooters could not convert with their outside attempts.

Erik Menk also made things difficult for Marlou Aquino and Dennis Espino as the Sta. Lucia big men could not convert inside against Menk's tough defense inside the paint.

Ginebra also limited their turnovers in the second half after committing 15, which Sta. Lucia converted to 10 points as the Realtors enjoyed a 45-35 lead at the half.

Helterbrand, after being limited to five points in the first half, exploded in the final two periods to finish with a game-high 25 points.

But it was Artadi who spelled the difference for the Gin Kings as the former University of the East Red Warrior's heads up plays and defense kept Ginebra afloat in a game they trailed for most part of it.

Artadi finished with 18 points, three assists and two steals while Salvacion added 11 more for the Kings.

The loss wasted Espino's first half exploits as the veteran forward turned back the hands of time when he scored Sta. Lucia's first eight points. The Realtors raced to a 10-0 start in the opening quarter.

Espino, however, was held to four points in the second half after scoring 12 in the first two quarters of the game.

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