BARANGAY Ginebra bounced back quickly from a loss to Magnolia three nights ago and took the solo second place behind unbeaten pacesetter San Miguel Beer with a come-from-behind 83-75 win over NLEX in the PBA Philippine Cup at the MOA Arena Wednesday.
Trailing by as many as 18 early on, the Kings turned things around in the second half, pummeling the Road Warriors, 26-18, in the third period then, 25-12, in the final canto to salvage the crucial game - the second in a tough three-game run over six days.
Arvin Tolentino, Japeth Aguilar and Scottie Thompson teamed up for the closer that sent the Kings up to solo second at 3-1, ahead of their exciting duel with the Beermen (3-0) Friday in the same Pasay City playing venue.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone was happy and thankful for the win that could well provide them some momentum in their faceoff with June Mar Fajardo and his teammates.
"It's a big win as we face a super strong San Miguel Beer team Friday, and you don't want to get there coming from two losses. The win gives us an opportunity to come in with some momentum and confidence," said Cone.
Aguilar scored 20 points, Tolentino fired 17 including four big three-pointers in the fourth quarter and Thompson tossed in 15 markers plus eight rebounds as the Kings rebounded from their 89-84 loss to the Hotshots Sunday.
They came out a bit flat and had to weather the Road Warriors' torrid shooting early on.
"NLEX was scorching and red-hot. I thought we would not be able to come back and would lose by 20 or so. Good thing, we found a way to get the win," said Aguilar.
"I thought so too," said Cone, needing big adjustments during the course of the game to turn back the Road Warriors.
"The guys did a good job staying in the game and battling. They battled, giving as a chance to win in the end," said Cone, who also drew solid efforts from Christian Standhardinger (10 points, nine rebounds and four assists) and LA Tenorio (10 markers, eight assists and six boards).
"We made huge adjustments that we don't usually do. We caught the momentum that was helped carry on by the crowd," Cone pointed out.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Tolentino forged the first deadlock at 67-all then a breakaway drive by John Pinto from a pitch from Tenorio had the Kings enjoying a first taste of the lead at 69-67 with 5:50 left to play.
NLEX regained the lead for the last time at 73-71 before Tolentino banged away another trey to touch off the Kings' 12-2 closing tear. (SB)
Ginebra 83 - J.Aguilar 20, Tolentino 17, Thompson 15, Standhardinger 10, Tenorio 10, Pinto 5, Caperal 2, Chan 2, Mariano 2, David 0.
NLEX 75 - Alas 16, Oftana 15, Trollano 12, Chua 8, Rosales 8, Paniamogan 5, Soyud 4, Fonacier 3, Magat 2, Quinahan 2, Ighalo 0, Semerad 0, Miranda 0.
Quarters: 17-28, 32-45, 58-63, 83-75