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PBA: Finally, Ginebra

BARANGAY Ginebra San Miguel’s Chris Ellis, right, dunks on San Miguel Beer’s Bitoy Omolon in yesterday’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Ginebra won, 95-82. (PBA Images)

Barako Bull in share of leadership

Games Tomorrow (Smart Araneta)
4:15 p.m. – Meralco vs Rain or Shine
7 p.m. – Globalport vs Alaska

Barako Bull import Solomon Alabi probably figured there was no way he could get his picture taken with Manny Pacquiao once he is through beating up the Kia Carnival yesterday.

And so when the 7-foot-1 Alabi chanced upon the Kia player-coach and eight-division boxing champion shooting baskets before the game, he rushed back to the locker room, grabbed his cell phone and had a ‘selfie’ with the most sought after athlete in the world.

Then he beat up the Carnival.

Alabi had 26 points, 19 rebounds and 8 blocked shots to power unbeaten Barako Bull past Kia Motors, 95-86, for a share of leadership in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel ended a two-game losing start and episodes of sleepwalking this conference by beating Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer, 95-82.

The loss sent the Beermen to their second straight defeat, with the scent of a humiliating loss to Kia Motors a few days ago still in the air.

Recovered from a bout of food poisoning, Kings import Michael Dunigan exploded for 29 points with 13 rebounds while Greg Slaughter added 18 and Mark Caguioa 17 points with 5 rebounds.

“Napatunayan namin na kaya pala namin dalhin sa game yung intensity ng praktis,” said Caguioa. “Ang nangyayari kasi sa’min, parang kailangan muna naming matambakan bago kami humabol.”

Ginebra coach Ato Agustin said adjustments they made in their offense paid dividends.

“Lumabas yung running game namin,” said Agustin. Ginebra enjoyed a 16-4 advantage in fast breaks and overwhelmed SMB inside, 60 points to 30.

The Kings posted their biggest lead at 16 late in the game as the Beermen failed to match Ginebra’s ferocity despite the 32 points of Ronald Roberts, who also had 14 rebounds and 5 blocks, 4 on Dunigan.

Former Barako Bull center Dorian Pena had a quiet debut with Ginebra, taking just one shot in 6:13 minutes

Meantime, the Energy, whose last 3-0 start came during the 2007 Fiesta Conference when the franchise still carried the Air21 brand name, joined the Meralco Bolts and defending champion Purefoods as the only undefeated teams so far.

Kia’s third loss in four games spoiled the return of Pacquiao from the States which marked his first appearance on the Carnival bench. He was in uniform but didn’t play, stepping in every now and then during timeout huddles to pump up his ballclub which trailed by as many as 15 points late in the second quarter.

Pacquiao, one of the judges in the Miss Universe Pageant in Miami a few weeks ago, even took hold of the white board at one point and diagrammed a play.

In the end though, with Kia unable to follow up on its stunning upset of Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer, Pacquiao proved gracious in defeat.

“Talo talaga,” he said. “Kasama sa laro yan. Ang dami naming turnovers at miss sa shooting.”

Kia shot just 36 percent (31 of 86), clanging 21 of 28 three-point shots. JR Cawaling was 2 of 9 from beyond the arc and Mark Yee 0 of 4. The Carnival also gave up 20 points off 22 turnovers.

PJ Ramos, Kia’s 7-foot-4 import, poured 17 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter where Kia came within 4 points but got no closer as Alabi scored 12 in the same period and Paolo Hubalde 7 of his 9 points.

“They gave us a scare,” said Barako Bull coach Koy Banal. “This a different Kia team from the one we played before. They have improved a lot based on their first three games and that’s what we reminded our players before the game.”

BARAKO BULL 95 – Alabi 26, Intal 18, Lanete 10, Hubalde 9, Garcia 8, Lastimosa 6, Wilson 6, Marcelo 4, Pascual 4, Chua 2, salvador 2, Salva 0, Paredes 0, Sorongon 0.

KIA 86 – Ramos 34, Buensuceso 14, Revilla 10, Cawaling 8, Avenido 7, Burtscher 6, Pascual 4, Dehesa 3, Poligrates 0, Webb 0, Alvarez 0, Yee 0, Ighalo 0.

Quarters: 22-13; 37-28; 66-56; 95-86

Second Game:
GINEBRA 95 – Dunigan 29, Slaughter 18, Caguioa 17, Yeo 11, Tenorio 8, Mamaril 6, Aguilar 2, Ellis 2, Baracael 2, Pena 0, Urbiztondo 0, Helterbrand 0.

SAN MIGUEL 82 – Roberts 32, Lutz 12, Lassiter 10, Fajardo 9, Cabagnot 8, santos 6, Tubid 5, Ross 0, Kramer 0, Reyes 0, Omolon 0, Pascual 0, Fortuna 0.

Quarters: 27-21; 48-41; 72-66; 95-82