Despite playing with fatigue and without key players, Brgy. Ginebra rolled to their 3rd straight win after whipping Phoenix by 20, 109-89, Friday night in the elimination round of the PBA Season 47 Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
The Gin Kings, who lost back-to-back matches against sister teams Magnolia and San Miguel before bouncing back against Blackwater and Meralco, improved to 6-2 and solidified their bid to finish in the top 4 and secure a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinal round.
The Fuel Masters, on the other hand, fell to 4-6 and failed in their attempt to clinch a playoffs ticket. The Dennis Uy-owned franchise is now in a must-win situation against Meralco to formalize their entry into the next round.
Christian Standhardinger once again shone brightest for the defending champions with a stat line of 28 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists and a steal in 30 minutes of play. The top overall pick of the 2017 draft shot an impressive 11-of-14 from the field and 6-of-8 from the stripe.
“This is the middle game of a three-game set so we came in with the intention of more people, trying to get our guys a little bit more rest, and it just worked out that our guys really stepped up,” said Brgy. Ginebra head coach Tim Cone during the post-game press conference.
“He didn’t have the heavy minutes when Japeth was around and they were oftentimes splitting time together. So you’re not going to put up the big numbers when you’re splitting time with another player.”
The league’s winningest mentor earlier said during an interview that Aguilar will be out for 3 to 5 weeks as he is still recuperating from a knee injury he sustained against NLEX last February 8. LA Tenorio, meanwhile, has been ruled out for the remainder of the season due to a groin injury.
“But with Japeth out, he’s getting heavier minutes and we have to go to him. He’s responding big, big time,” added Cone.
Justin Brownlee wasn’t his usual self and settled for 18 points on 5-of-16 shooting in 37 minutes of action. The naturalized Filipino drained 2-of-7 attempts from beyond the arc and also contributed 11 boards, 6 assists and blocks.
Scottie Thompson fired 16 points while Jamie Malonzo and Von Pessumal scored 14 markers each. Jeremiah Gray added a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds to go with 4 dimes and a block.