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Post by Ginebra Tambayan on Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:51 am



GINEBRA took another emphatic step towards a cherished goal by walloping Air21 last night 103-87 and forged a playoff spot for an automatic semifinals slot in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Import Jackson Vroman did not see action in the last 25 minutes of the game but the Kings’ locals, led by Mike Cortez, proved up to the task as Ginebra posted its third straight win ending the nine-game eliminations.

The victory jacked Ginebra’s record to 6-3 in a tie with B-Meg.

Defending champion Talk N Text was aiming for the same slate while battling Petron Blaze as of press time. Should the Boosters win, the Llamados will claim the No. 1 spot and the Kings face the Texters tomorrow for the No. 2 slot and the other automatic semis seat.

Should TNT win, Ginebra and B-Meg square off for the No. 2 position.

Kings coach Siot Tanquingcen was just glad his team moved one win away from an outright semis berth and relished the opportunity given them.

"Wala kaming mapagpilian," said Tanquingcen. "May oportunidad sa outright kaya kahit kanino matapat, buhos na lahat."

The Kings won over TNT by three but lost to B-Meg by 16, but Tanquingcen just couldn’t put a handle on which team is tougher to beat.

"Both of them have different strengths," he said. "It should come down to how we basically defend. Kahit sa B-Meg game namin, last four minutes or so, we lost steam. Against Talk N Text, they played more of a Ginebra-type of game."

Ginebra’s win meant Barako Bull settled for No. 5 and will face No. 4 Alaska in the best-of-three quarterfinals. The No. 3 seed takes on the winner of the playoff, set also tomorrow, for No. 6 between Powerade and Meralco.

Marcus Douthit scored 19 points and grabbed 23 rebounds for Air21, which absorbed its fourth straight loss and wound up 10th and last for the second straight conference.

RJ Jazul also finished with 19 points, anchored on six triples, while Nelbert Omolon, James Sena and Ren-Ren Ritualo each had at least 10 points for the Express. But all of their collective efforts paled compared to the more balanced attack of their Ginebra counterparts.

Vroman scattered 19 points and 13 rebounds while Cortez had 18 points and a game-high nine assists.

Mark Caguioa’s 13 points was the only other double-digit output by a King but eight of the nine other players fielded by Tanquingcen scored and five of them had at least eight each.

Ginebra’s sustained attack was at its fieriest in the second half, capped by a 17-6 assault starting the fourth period that gave the Kings their biggest lead at 95-73.

What made Tanquingcen doubly prouder was the way his players stepped up on defense, holding the Express to just 33-of-87 field shooting.

"Sa depensa kami talaga nakakuha ng energy," he stated. "I think ‘yun ang key para sa amin."

Ginebra did not lose composure despite a minor fracas involving Air21’s Ogie Menor.

Menor, who was slapped a technical foul in his reactivation last Friday, again showed his ugly side by incurring the ire of Vroman with a hard bump in the last 45 seconds of the second period.

After being slapped a technical, he got another and was promptly ejected after a confrontation with Ginebra forward Willie Wilson and assistant coach Allan Caidic while the teams were on their way to their respective dugouts at halftime.

Ginebra seemed to have been fired up even more by the incident as it padded a 53-42 at the turn to 17 points twice, the last at 78-61, before going to the final canto with an 11-point spread.

Source: Malaya.com.ph

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