Barangay Ginebra sorely missed the services of its scoring leader Mark Caguioa, and B-MEG took full advantage.
The Llamados bucked a slow start to turn back the Gin Kings, 82-67, at the start of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-five semifinals series at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
After scoring only eight points in the first period and falling behind by 15 points in the second quarter, the Llamados turned to their defense to get back into the contest.
B-MEG made things difficult for Ginebra’s offense, holding the Gin Kings to only eight points in the second period and only 13 in the third, as the Llamados broke the game wide open. Ginebra was held to its lowest output this conference.
The Llamados posted 25-point leads several times, including once after a basket by Marc Pingris off an assist by JC Intal that gave B-MEG a 70-45 lead with exactly eight minutes to go in the game.
“Obviously we didn’t get off to the start that we wanted,” said B-MEG coach Tim Cone. “They had a nice game plan pick-and-rolling, involving Willie Wilson and Rudy [Hatfield] coming off the weak side. I don’t know what got us going when we came back, but we started playing a little bit better on defense and that got us back.”
“I told the players that they’re the No. 1 defensive team and we’re No. 2, if it would take for us to win 60 or 55 points to win, then we will do that.”
Visibly frustrated by B-MEG’s defense was Jackson Vroman, who scored nine of his 10 points in the first half and was held scoreless in the fourth quarter. He received a flagrant foul penalty 1 for pushing Yancy de Ocampo in the face after a series of chippy plays.
B-MEG (82) – Bowles 21, Simon 13, Devance 9, Yap 9, De Ocampo 9, Urbiztondo 6, Reavis 5, Intal 4, Pingris 4, Villanueva 2, Barroca 0.
Ginebra (67) – Vroman 10, Labagala 10, Villanueva 8, Hatfield 8, Cortez 7, Canaleta 6, Helterbrand 6, Ababou 5, Wilson 4, Wilson, J. 2, Raymundo 1, Mamaril 0.
Quarterscores: 8-21; 33-29; 60-42; 82-67
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