SLR 85, Ginebra 102

On: 17 May 2010

SLR After Williams

For once in quite a while, Barangay Ginebra displayed some of its old fire.

That, and the fact Sta. Lucia Realty was still trying to adjust playing without two of its most prized players, led to the Kings' 102-85 victory in the PBA Fiesta Conference at the Araneta Coliseum last 16 May 2010.

Mildon Ambres and Ronald Tubid led the Ginebra players who mostly provided the sustaining fire as the Kings not only started the second round of eliminations on a bright note but also broke the spell SLR has cast on it this season.

“At least we saw something positive in today's game. They (Kings) played more as a team today. They tried their very best and showed fire,” said Barangay Ginebra coach Jong Uichico, whose team barely won two of its last three games, struggling in both.

Things were drastically different Sunday night as the Kings dominated from start to finish, even leading by 23 points twice, en route to improving their win-loss record to 6-4.

Uichico, however, quickly pointed out SLR is still trying to adjust from the trade sealed last 12 May 2010 that saw Kelly Williams and Ryan Reyes being shipped to Talk ' Text.

The absence of the two, who combined to average 32.0 points, 21.3 rebounds, 8.6 assists, 2.7 steals and 1.0 blocks in three previous wins against Ginebra this season, was clearly a factor and tempered Ginebra's jubilation.

"It's hard to make this a judgment day, kasi nawalan ng players ang Sta. Lucia. Those two are the core of their team," Uichico pointed out.

Yet Uichico is also aware his team may have gained some momentum.

"We have tough games coming up, against Alaska and San Miguel Beer, so kailangan we should build on this win, keep on improving," he said.

Adjustment is also the operating word for the Realtors, who dropped to a 4-6 slate.

"We have so many things to adjust," said SLR coach Boyet Fernandez, whose team drew a game-high 31 points and nine rebounds from Anthony Johnson but got outrebounded 40-53.

"We've got a lot to learn in our defensive rotation," he added. "Hindi pa nag-click sa rotation, at kailangan pa ang konting adjustment, execution-wise sa mga bagong dating."

Marlou Aquino's grandfather also passed away in Pangasinan recently, preventing him from joining practice for two days. But there were some bright notes, like Yousif Aljamal draining four triples for 12 points and Ali Peek hauling down seven rebounds.

But those are overshadowed by the fact that Jayjay Helterbrand, Mark Caguioa and Eric Menk each had at least 12 points, while Rudy Hatfield added on to anchoring the defense on Johnson by snaring 10 rebounds for Barangay Ginebra.

The Kings also shot 50 percent from the floor, the percentage pulled down a bit by its 11-for-24 clip from beyond the arc.

Tubid going a perfect 5-for-5 from three-point land and Ambres and Helterbrand adding three triples each helped Barangay Ginebra pull away, although it was Caguioa's fastbreak layup that made it a 93-70 count, 4:29 left.

That proved enough to put a stamp on Barangay Ginebra's total domination of the second half and quash whatever drive the Realtors may still have had.

It was a different story in the first two quarters.

With Tubid scoring eight straight points during a 13-4 run to start the second period, the Kings seemed well on their way to a runaway win.

Those thoughts quickly vanished when Aljamal came in to drain three triples and, with help from Johnson and Gabby Espinas (13 points), led SLR in whittling the deficit to just 37-48.

It took another trey by Tubid before Barangay Ginebra had a 51-37 halftime lead it sustained to 77-63 going into the fourth period, mainly due to Ambres' 14 third quarter points. (NC)

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