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PBA: Ginebra too hot

Games Tomorrow (Cuneta Astrodome)
4:15 p.m. – Kia vs Alaska
7 p.m. – Meralco vs TNT

Manila, Philippines – In front of a crowd of 18,576, including two former Purefoods greats, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings sent the Hotshots crashing back to earth.

The Zen Master also found his match against a former student.

Combining defensive aggression with hot perimeter shooting and fierce gang rebounding, the Kings dictated the pace from the onset and never gave the Hotshots an inch of breathing space, 89-66, last night to grab a share of second place in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Ginebra pulled abreast with San Miguel Beer on 4-1 win-loss cards behind unbeaten Alaska (4-0). Purefoods, meantime, fell to 1-3, its small inroad after snapping a 0-2 start blown apart by Ginebra, which swarmed every Hotshots possession that triggered an endless rush of fast break plays.

The loss also spoiled the return of Purefoods megastar James Yap from a minor hamstring pull, while allowing Ginebra coach Jeff Cariaso to go up, 1-0, against his former mentor, Tim Cone. Yap was 2 of 14 from the floor in 30 minutes, including 0 for 3 from beyond the arc.

“I think I can breathe now, not having done so these past few days preparing for this game,” said Cariaso. “I think the team is starting to understand on a daily basis what it takes to be successful. Everyone is beginning to be accountable not only to himself but also to his teammates.”

Cariaso, an integral part of Cone’s Grand Slam season with Alaska in 1996 and a member of his San Mig Coffee coaching staff before taking the Ginebra job last season, downplayed his personal triumph however.

“Everyone’s making a big deal about this mentor versus apprentice, teacher versus student thing, and it feels good to win,” said Cariaso. “But one can’t be too happy about it. It’s just one of those night when we want it more than they do. And Coach Tim will adjust and he will come back.”

The Kings opened with a 10-0 lead and padded the advantage to 34-20 before halftime as the Hotshots started cold, shooting 31 percent from the field (12 of 39) in the first two quarters. The biggest lead was 89-64 just before the final buzzer.

Joseph Yeo, 5 of 8 from 3- point range, poured 12 of his 17 points in the third quarter where the Kings overwhelmed the Hotshots, 28-17. Greg Slaughter added 14 points and grabbed 26 rebounds between him and Billy Mamaril.

Rey Evangelista, Jerry Codinera and Alvin Patrimonio

A special feature preceded the highly-anticipated game as Purefoods retired the jerseys of longtime members Jerry Codinera (No. 44) and Rey Evangelista (No. 7). Joining the two players at centercourt are PBA commissioner Chito Salud, Hotshots governor Rene Pardo, team manager Alvin Patrimonio, Burger King’s Raul Nazareno and former league chairman Butch Alejo.

Meanwhile, Globalport picked up its second straight win and third overall this conference, routing Blackwater, 87-72, as Ronjay Buenafe scored 17 points with four three-point shots and veteran playmaker Alex Cabagnot made a triumphant return from a swollen throat to with 9 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists. Rookie Anthony Semerad added 16 points on 8 of 9 shooting from the floor.

“Total team effort,” said Globalport coach Pido Jarencio. “Yung balik ni Alex, nagkaroon ng flow ang offense namin. Tapos yung mga rookies, nag-step up din.”

Jarencio, 2 of 16 combined in the previous two conferences, now has three wins to his name although he remains two away from the five victories posted by his predecessor Ritchie Ticzon in the 2013 Philippine Cup.

“Nagkakaroon na ng kumpiyansa na puwede palang manalo ng magkasunod,” said Jarencio. “Isa, wala naman kaming iba pang pupuntahan kundi pataas dahil galing na kami sa ilalim e. Nothing to lose kami.”

GLOBALPORT 87 – Buenafe 17, Semerad 16, Pringle 14, Jensen 14, Cabagnot 9, Isip 8, Baclao 3, Caperal 2, Ponferada 2, De Ocampo 2, Pinto 0, Taha 0, Nabong 0.

BLACKWATER 72 – Faundo 16, Gamalinda 15, Artadi 11, Salvacion 10, Erram 6, Rodriguez 6, Laure 5, Ballesteros 2, Nuyles 1, Timberlake 0, Tiongson 0, Menor 0, Cawaling 0, Austria 0.

Quarters: 19-20, 45-40, 70-53, 87-72

GINEBRA 89 – Yeo 17, Slaughter 14, Baracael 13, Mamaril 12, Aguilar 11, Tenorio 7, Caguioa 7, Brondial 6, Helterbrand 2, Monfort 0, Forrester 0, Urbiztondo 0, Reyes 0, Ellis 0.

PUREFOODS 66 – Simon 15, Devance 11, Pingris 10, Barroca 9, Mallari 8, Yap 7, Taha 3, Melton 2, Allado 1, Reavis 0, Holstein 0, Gaco 0, Maliksi 0, Matias 0.

Quarters: 19-10, 38-32, 66-49, 89-66