SLR 98, Ginebra 101

On: 09 May 2009

PBA Fiesta 2009

Barangay Ginebra blew a 14-point lead in the third quarter but kept its poise when the going got tough to beat the undermanned but spirited Sta. Lucia Realtors,101-98, in a crucial game Friday night at the Araneta Coliseum.

After a brief rest late in the third canto, David Noel returned to start the fourth and quickly scored five straight points that broke a 79-79 count and touched off a 10-0 run.

JC Intal also played a key role in that fourth quarter salvo. He made a steal and had two blocks – all against Sta. Lucia veteran center Marlou Aquino – to set off that telling spurt as the Kings regained momentum.

Noel scored 23 points to lead five other Kings in double digits. He also had 12 rebounds, three assists and five steals in 44 minutes.

“We blew away a huge lead but to be able to survive a game like that builds our character,” said Ginebra coach Jong Uichico afterwards.

It was the fifth straight win and sixth overall in 11 games for the Kings, who gained ground in their bid for an outright passage in the semifinals of the 2009 Motolite PBA Fiesta Conference.

Currently tied for third and fourth place with Burger King, the defending champions could move into a tie for second place if it beats Purefoods on Sunday.

Ginebra appeared to have the game well under control when they built a 61-47 advantage early in the third. But the Realtors, undermanned with the absence of Kelly Williams (blood disorder) and Bitoy Omolon (chicken pox), made a run when the Kings’ offense went cold to make the game exciting.

The Realtors picked up their third straight defeat and fell to an even 6-6 slate.

Jayjay Helterbrand scored 19 points and had six assists, Chico Lanete had 15 markers, Ronald Tubid added 12 and Intal and Billy Mamaril contributed 10 apiece for the Kings, who enjoyed a 15-7 advantage on fastbreak points and netted 21 points on 19 Sta. Lucia turnovers.

Ryan Reyes showed the way for the Realtors with 21 points. Import Anthony Johnson turned in 20 points and 19 boards but missed three 3-point attempts in the closing seconds that could have sent the game into overtime.

After four deadlocks and six lead changes, the Kings put together a 14-2 run spanning four minutes that separated them from the Realtors.

Before that run, the defending champs were just two up, 33-31. Lanete had six points and Noel four in that spurt that stretched the lead to 47-33 on a layup by Lanete with 2:47 to play in the second. GInebra led 54-43 at halftime.

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