Barangay Ginebra Defeat Star in Manila Clasico clash

Superstar point guard LA Tenorio came up big in the clutch, sinking the go-ahead pull-up jumper with 28.8 seconds remaining as Barangay Ginebra San Miguel squeaked past the Star Hotshots, 92-87, in the 2016 PBA Commissioner's Cup on Sunday, February 28 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Gin Kings won back-to-back games to improve to 2-2, while the Hotshots fall to 1-4. Ginebra needed to weather a big third quarter run from Star and actually still trailed with 1:17 left to play but got the big shots it needed to come out on top. Othyus Jeffers had 23 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists while Japeth Aguilar scored 15 points all of them in the first half. They got more than enough support from Greg Slaughter, who tallied a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, and LA Tenorio, who added 12 markers. Slaughter and Tenorio also hit some clutch shots in the endgame to help their team clinch the victory. Ginebra is now 2-2 for the conference while Star dropped to 1-4. The first quarter saw some big performances from Manila Clasico’s biggest names straight off the bat.

Barangay Ginebra’s Mark Caguioa and Star’s James Yap both played a starring role for their respective teams, scoring eight points apiece in the first. Despite a scintillating shooting display from Yap and Peter June Simon, who combined to shoot 4-for-5 from three-point range in the first, it was the Kings, led by Caguioa, Aguilar and Tenorio, who pushed ahead, 29-24. Ginebra moved even further in the second quarter after Chris Ellis knocked down back-to-back threes as part of an 8-0 run that gave the Kings an 11-point lead, 42-31. Ginebra’s twin towers, Slaughter and Aguilar, provided some nice highlights as well, with Slaughter dunking in an offensive rebounds and Aguilar later slamming home an alley-oop pass from import Jeffers for a three-point play.

They led 56-48 at the half with Aguilar leading all scorers with 15 points. Jeffers added nine points and nine rebounds. Star was led by Simon, who had 14 points, including four threes, in the first half. But Star turned things around with a big third quarter, where they outscored Ginebra, 26-10. Star opened the third on a 10-4 run, half of those coming from Denzel Bowles, who scored on a floater and then a three-point play off a putback to bring Star to within two, 60-58. Mark Barroca then went nuts late in the third quarter, scoring 11 points in the last 3:22 of the quarter as the Hotshots closed out the period on a 13-0 run. The Star point guard started off with a big three-pointer before running the break alongside Bowles for an easy layup. He then pulled up for another triple about a minute later. Hotshots reserve Jake Pascual scored off a big putback to score with 1:09 remaining before Barroca capped his terrific run with a third trey that made it an eight-point game, 74-66, heading into the fourth quarter. Ginebra was quick to shrug off that third quarter, though, responding by eclipsing their 10-point third quarter output in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter alone. Jeffers, who scored eight of Ginebra’s third quarter points, and Joe Devance opened the fourth with back-to-back hits while Slaughter also added a basket in the post. They would later string together five straight points on a Sol Mercado three-pointer and an Ellis finish on transition, tying the game at 77-apiece after an 11-3 start. Star answered with three straight field goals from Bowles, Pascual and Marc Pingris to take an 83-77 lead but Ginebra, after an exchange of baskets, responded with three of their own to tie the game again at 85-all with 3:05 minutes left on the clock. After a pair of free throws from Star’s Rafi Reavis, Ginebra got some clutch baskets from Slaughter, who cleaned up the offensive glass for a putback, and Tenorio, who drilled a huge jumper from midrange with 28 seconds remaining to give the Kings an 89-87 lead. Bowles missed a jumper and though Star got a stop on Ginebra’s initial attack, Slaughter again grabbed an offensive rebound and sealed the win with another three-point play, 92-87.
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