While still in the process of smoothening their game, the Barangay Ginebra Kings nailed another key win over the TNT KaTropa Texters and thus reclaimed a spot in the upper half of the chart.
The Texters suffered a second straight loss and dropped to eighth place at 4-5.
Still minus Joe Devance, the three other major Ginebra stars delivered as the Kings warded off the Texters, 93-78, to inch closer to a playoff berth in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday.
LA Tenorio came through with 27 points and 11 assists while twin towers Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter combined for 45 markers and 20 boards to lead the Kings to a fifth win against four losses.
"LA was awesome tonight, and we just loved seeing Japeth and Greg playing well together. It's the key to our success - not how well Japeth plays, not how well Greg plays," said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
"But it's still a tough conference for us. Hopefully, we can smoothen things out and have a good ride in the end," Cone also said. "We got over .500 but a lot of teams are playing for sixth spot, and they have better quotients than us."
But Troy Rosario is likely to be back in action as they play their last two games against GlobalPort and NLEX.
Ginebra, meanwhile, has Meralco and Rain or Shine as its last two assignments.
"We're still in a delicate situation. The goal is the Top Six. Anything beyond the Top Six is a bonus for us," said Cone.
The Kings got themselves in a good position to land a spot in the best-of-three quarterfinals following back-to-back wins over the Kia Picanto and the Texters.
Tenorio and his teammates went through a tough battle through the first 40 minutes before picking up a good rhythm for a blazing windup.
The Kings were down by two at 65-67 before Kevin Ferrer hit back-to-back treys to touch off a huge 21-6 salvo that opened an 86-73 spread for Ginebra entering the homestretch.
In the ensuing plays, Tenorio set up Aguilar for a thunderous slam then buried a booming trey as the Kings eventually took the fight out of the Texters.
"Before the game, we said it's a huge game. Obviously now that we won, it's a huge win," said Cone.
BARANGAY GINEBRA 93 - Tenorio 27, J. Aguilar 25, Slaughter 20, Thompson 9, Ferrer 6, Cruz 6, Taha 0, Mercado 0, Caperal 0, Caguioa 0, R. Aguilar 0.
TALK N' TEXT 78 - Castro 17, Williams 17, Pogoy 16, Tautuaa 10, Garcia 8, Reyes 2, Torres 2, Semerad 2, Tamsi 2, Paredes 2, Golla 0, Carey 0.
Quarterscores: 22-18, 44-42, 63-62, 93-78.