ANOTHER unlikely hero surfaced for Barangay Ginebra, enabling the Kings to stay unscathed in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart 5G-powered Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
Still starting at center while Japeth Aguilar still gropes for form, Prince Caperal did not disappoint as he poured in 24 points to lead the Kings to a fitting follow-up to their 102-92 win over NLEX at the start of the bubble last Sunday.
Caperal even boomed in five triples and added six rebounds and three assists, with seven of his points coming in the fourth period that helped Ginebra gain crucial separation from its gutsy foe.
Aljon Mariano did not reprise his 20-point game against NLEX but did have two baskets in the fourth, the last off a short stab making it 96-86.
Determined to follow up its 96-89 win over NorthPort last Monday, Blackwater came charging back. But that fell short as Stanley Pringle and Jared Dillinger made the charities that completely kept the Elite at bay.
The close windup was something coach Tim Cone expected. "We knew it was gonna be tough. We know every game here is gonna be tough because we're still not at our best," he said.
"But we're still playing extremely hard, we're still getting up and down the floor, we're still defending as best we can. We still think we have room to grow and get better," added Cone.
Don Trollano again led Blackwater with 23 points while Mac Belo and Roi Sumang led the chief supporters with 16 and 14, respectively.
Pringle wound up with 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists, Scottie Thompson likewise filled up the stats sheet with 14, 7 and 7, while Jeff Chan added 12 markers
Caperal actually came within three points of matching his career-high and seemed right on track with 14 points in the first two quarters that helped Ginebra take a 49-37 lead at the half.
Nine of his points actually came in the second period that fueled the Kings' drive to as much as a 42-29 spread before Pringle's drive to start the second half stretched the lead to its biggest at 51-37. (NC)
Ginebra 103 - Caperal 24, Pringle 17, Thompson 14, Chan 12, Aguilar 11, Dillinger 9, Mariano 8, Tolentino 5, Devance 3, Tenorio 0.
Blackwater 99 - Trollano 23, Belo 16, Sumang 14, Daquioag 11, Tolomia 7, Desiderio 7, Golla 6, Canaleta 5, Magat 5, Dennison 5, Escoro 0, Salem 0.
Quarters: 26-19, 40-37, 75-76, 103-99