Barangay Ginebra took charge late to cruise past the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 88-80, and draw first blood in their best-of-three quarterfinals series in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup on Monday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Failing to sustain a hot start and contain the E-Painters, the Gin Kings wasted away a nine-point lead in the third period, but was able regain their bearings in the final frame and repeated over their opponents, whom they defeated in triple overtime thriller just three nights ago.
With a well-distributed offense that translated to 24 assists, five players scored in double figures for Ginebra.
LA Tenorio led the attack with 16 markers built around four triples, along with four rebounds and three assists in almost 39 minutes. Joe Devance added 15 points, five assists, four boards, and one steal, while Scottie Thompson produced another near triple-double of 14 markers, 15 boards, and seven dimes in 41.5 minutes of play.
Ginebra tried establishing a sizeable cushion in the first three quarters, only to be erased by their opponents immediately, as the Elasto Painters managed to keep it a close ball game, just like in their elimination round meeting.
But a 15-2 rally punctuated by a booming trey from Sol Mercado, propelled the Gin Kings to their largest lead, 82-69, midway through the fourth, that proved to be enough to pick up the win and gain a 1-0 series advantage.
Mercado posted 13 points, three assists, and one steal to become the player of the game, while Japeth Aguilar racked up 14 points and nine boards on top of four assists, four blocks and two steals.
Beau Belga led the way for ROS with 17 markers and five boards, while Ed Daquioag and Maverick Ahanmisi chipped in 15 and 10 markers, respectively.
The Game 2 of this best-of-three showdown is on Wednesday at the Big Dome at 4:30 p.m.
GINEBRA 88 – Tenorio 16, Devance 15, Thompson 14, J. Aguilar 14, Mercado 13, Ferrer 5, Cruz 4, Mariano 4, .Caguioa 2, R. Aguilar 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 80 – Belga 17, Daquioag 15, Ahanmisi 10, Ponferada 9, Nambatac 8, Trollano 6, Washington 5, Norwood 4, Tiu 3, Maiquez 2, Borboran 0, Almazan 0.
Quarter scores: 21-23, 44-43, 68-64, 88-80.