For 24 minutes, Barangay Ginebra appeared to be on the verge of experiencing its first set of back-to-back setbacks in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
Fortunately for the Gin Kings, Mark Caguioa once again sparked their comeback.
Caguioa scored 15 of his 22 points in the second half to lead the Gin Kings’ to a come-from-behind 90-81 triumph over the luckless Alaska Aces Friday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
He did more than just score in the victory, Ginebra’s fourth in seven matches. He had three steals and four assists while inspiring the rest of his squad to do their share to make up for a subpar gam from import Cedric Bozeman.
Enrico Villanueva came off the bench to score all of his 12 points in the second half. KG Canaleta also stepped up, contributing nine in the final 24 minutes of play while Dylan Ababou and Willie Wilson combined for 10 points as the Gin Kings’ shock troopers outplayed the Aces.
Overall, the Gin Kings got 55 points from their bench compared to 22 for the Aces.
The Aces posted their biggest lead at 17 points, 46-29, on a basket by import Jason Forte with still a minute to go before the end of the first half.
But the Gin Kings fought their way back slowly in the third period. A blistering 14-3 run capped by a Bozeman basket shoved the Gin Kings within one point, 55-54, with 4:27 left in the quarter.
In the fourth period, Caguioa led another 14-3 spurt by the Gin Kings, who posted a 79-68 lead with 8:05 left in the game. They were never seriously threatened from then on.
The alternating wins and losses trend continued for Ginebra, which is now a win away from reaching the semifinal round.
Ginebra’s inconsistency was a big concern both for both coach Siot Tanquingcen and Caguioa.
“We’re far from [being in good] shape. Knowing carryover ang semis, gusto naming makuha yung dating shape namin,” said Tanquingcen.
Caguioa, for his part, believes they need to execute better
“We need to get some flow from our offense. Meron kaming game na pangit, next naman super ganda, mahirap tantyahin,” said Caguioa.
Ginebra (90) — Caguioa 22, Bozeman 15, Villanueva 12, Cortez 12, Canaleta 9, Ababou 6, Hatfield 6, Wilson W. 4, Maierhofer 2, Raymundo 2, Maliksi 0, Wilson J. 0, Mamaril 0, Helterbrand 0.
Alaska (81) — Forte 20, Tenorio 12, Espinas 12, Baguio 11, Thoss 9, Baracael 7, Jazul 6, Eman 2, Gelig 2, Thiele 0, Custodio 0, Sotto 0, Cablay 0, Dela Cruz 0.
Quarters: 10-23, 33-46, 65-65, 90-81
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