Barangay Ginebra started the final half with a flurry and coasted to a 91-81 win over Barako Bull as the Kings became the fourth team to make the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday night.
Ahead by three, 44-41, at the half, the Kings put the game away as Mark Caguioa and Jackson Vroman combined for 13 unanswered points to begin the third quarter.
The Kings led by as many as 19, 68-49, later before completing the crucial victory that pushed the team up to third place going into the closing play date of the elimination round Wednesday.
At 5-4, the Kings have a shot at a playoff for an outright semifinal entry in their game versus the Air21 Express.
“Our destiny is still in our hands. It’s up to us to take care of business,” said Ginebra
coach Siot Tanquingcen.
Talk n Text, at 6-2, and B-Meg, at 6-3, are the two other teams in the hunt for an outright semis passage.
The Kings settle for a quarters slot if they drop their game versus the Express.
Alaska, at 5-4, is the other team that has booked a seat in the quarters.
“We have to stay focused. Mahirap kalaban ang Air21 dahil nga bata at fight ng fight iyan.
There’s also Marcus Douthit who’s a dominant player,” said Tanquingcen of the Express.
Caguioa finished with a game-high 25 points while Vroman wound up with 19 points and 13 rebounds as the Kings stopped the Barako run, sending the Energy to a 4-5 finish in the elims.
The Energy gain outright quarters entry should Ginebra beat Air21 Wednesday. But they figure in a knockout in case the Express prevail.
The Kings and the Energy engaged in a battle before the former came out smoking from the halftime huddle, taking a 70-55 lead going into the payoff period.
The Energy, on the other hand, suddenly went flat, going scoreless in the first six minutes of the third quarter. Rodney White broke their spell with a three-pointer.
Caguioa nearly outscored the whole Barako team in the third period, firing away 11 points in a
torrid shooting cheered on by a crowd of nearly 14,000 in the venue.
The six-foot guard rifled in a booming trey then Vroman executed a rim-rattling two-handed jam to ignite their decisive third-quarter romp.
Falling behind by 19, the Energy chopped it down to 15 at the end of the third on back-to-back
baskets by Willie Miller.
Barako, however, failed to completely get back into the fight. (SB)
GINEBRA 91 - Caguioa 25, Vroman 19, Cortez 12, Hatfield 10, Ababou 7, Wilson W. 6, Raymundo 6,
Villanueva 4, Wilson J. 2, Labagala 0.
BARAKO 81 - White 19, Miller 11, Seigle 11, Najorda 10, Tubid 8, Allado 8, Weinstein 5, Arboleda 5, Aquino 2, Pena 2, Pennisi 0.
Quarterscores: 20-20, 44-41, 70-55, 91-81