Barangay Ginebra survived a tough stand from the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and grinded out a 99-91 victory to sweep their best-of-three quarterfinal series in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup, Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
With a 2-0 sweep, the Gin Kings marched on to the semifinals and arranged a best-of-seven showdown with the defending champions San Miguel Beermen.
Japeth Aguilar put up a workmanlike output, registering game-high 27 points on top of 12 rebounds, three blocks and three steals in 34 minutes. Jervy Cruz delivered off the bench for Ginebra with 18 points, seven boards, alongside two assists, while LA Tenorio woke up in the second half to finish with 17 markers, three assists, and one steal.
And as expected, the game went down to the wire, as no team led by more than nine points, resulting to multiple lead changes and deadlocks, just like in their previous encounters.
But in the final five minutes, Ginebra relied on its veterans and took advantage of their opponents’ late-game miscues to create enough separation, turning a precarious 87-86 lead into a seven-point distance, 96-89, with only 56 seconds left.
Sol Mercado also supplied significant contribution for Ginebra with 10 points, six boards, and six dimes in 30 minutes as a starter. Joe Devance added 10 points, five rebounds, and five steals, while Scottie Thompson had an all-around game once again with his nine markers, 10 boards, six assists, two blocks and one steal.
Maverick Ahanmisi led the Elasto Painters with 18 points, seven boards, and five assists, while Ed Daquioag and Raymond Almazan scattered 14 points apiece in a wasted effort.
GINEBRA 99 – Aguilar 27, Cruz 18, Tenorio 17, Mercado 10, Devance 10, Thompson 9, Ferrer 6, Taha 2, Mariano 0, Manuel 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 91 – Ahanmisi 18, Daquioag 14, Almazan 14, Belga 13, Nambatac 8, Norwood 7, Ponferada 7, Washington 5, Onwubere 3, Borboran 2.
Quarter scores: 28-19, 43-46, 77-72, 99-91.