For the second straight year, Barangay Ginebra edged the Star Hotshots in Manila Clasico game, 86-79, in Christmas Day, in front of more than 20,000 fans inside the Philippine Arena in Bulacan, Sunday evening.
Opening the early minutes of the first quarter in chaos, Ginebra was able to overcome the jitters to turn the 13-6 deficit into 25-16 as the crowd favorites unleashed a 19-3 run to close the period.
Ginebra continued the rampage in the second canto by answering every run of Star to finish the first half in double digit lead, 45-35.
Japeth, who sanked two triples in the halftime, shone the most for Ginebra as he already recorded 14 points, 5 rebounds, and two blocks in the first two quarters. Joe Devance added 11 points.
In the third quarter, Star Hotshots turned things around in favor of them as Marc Pingris and Paul Lee carried the team to close the gap to only a point at 61-62.
Barangay Ginebra relied on the huge scoring night of Japeth to start the surge in the fourth quarter. Paolo Taha and Aljon Mariano also came up big in the final canto to douse off every fightback of the Hotshots.
Paul Lee tried to revive the game for Star but failed to do so as he suffered his first Manila Clasico lost. He finished with team-high 20 points while Pingris had the double-double of 14 markers and 16 boards.
Japeth Aguilar shone the most for Barangay Ginebra as he lit up the Philipine Arena with his five three-pointers, hitting all his attemps in the rainbow country to record career high 32 points. He was also active on defense after corraling 12 rebounds and registering 2 blocks.
Another GinKing has gained the fans’ appreciation when Scottie made his presence felt with his career-high 17 rebounds. He got the better of his match-up with rookie Jalalon after tallying 5 points and dishing out 7 assists. Jio struggled all night as he went 0-of-12 from the field.
The Governors’ Cup champions, who won their seventh straight Christmas game, improved their All-Filipino Conference record with three wins and three lossess while ending the winning run of Star Hotshots to three and equal their win-loss mark.
Ginebra 86 – Aguilar 32, Devance 17, Mariano 7, Tenorio 7, Taha 5, Thompson 5, Caguioa 4, Marcelo 4, Ellis 3, Mercado 2, Cruz 0, De Guzman 0, Ferrer 0, Helterbrand 0, Jamito 0.
Star 79 – Lee 20, Pingris 14, Maliksi 13, Ramos 7, Barroca 6, Dela Rosa 6, Melton 5, Reavis 4, Simon 4, Abundo 0, Brondial 0, De Leon 0, Jalalon 0, Javier 0, Sangalang 0.
Quarterscores: 25-16, 45-35, 62-61, 86-79