The twin towers of Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter conspire as the Gin Kings arrest a meltdown en route to the triumph
BOCAUE, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra kicked off the PBA's 44th season with a 90-79 demolition of TNT in the 2019 Philippine Cup before a mammoth crowd at the Philippine Arena here on Sunday, January 13.
With 23,711 in attendance, the Gin Kings arrested a meltdown in the middle quarters with a determined showing in the 4th period as they reasserted their mastery over the KaTropa, whom they have beaten 4 times in their last 5 meetings.
Japeth Aguilar, who was included in the First Mythical Team, finished with a team-high 21 points on a healthy 8-of-13 shooting while Greg Slaughter chalked up 15 points and 7 boards in the win.
Sol Mercado stuffed the stats sheet with 11 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists for Ginebra while Second Mythical Team member Scottie Thompson had a near double-double of 9 points, 10 rebounds and 2 assists.
The Gin Kings enjoyed a lead as big as 18 points, 44-26, until the KaTropa narrowed the gap to just 7 points heading into the second half, 42-49.
It remained a toe-to-toe battle in the 3rd frame until Ginebra pulled away for good in the payoff period behind Slaughter, who scored 8 of his output in the quarter.
RR Pogoy paced TNT with a huge double-double of 21 points, 16 rebounds and 2 steals while Jayson Castro had 17 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals.
New KaTropa Brian Heruela made his presence felt with 14 points – 10 coming in the 4th – and Don Trollano added 15 markers.
Ginebra 90 - Aguilar J. 21, Slaughter 15, Mercado 11, Thompson 9, Ferrer 9, Mariano 6, Devance 5, Tenorio 5, Teodoro 4, Cruz 3, Caperal 2, Aguilar R. 0.
TNT 79 - Pogoy 20, Castro 17, Trollano 15, Heruela 14, Reyes 6, Cruz 4, Williams 2, Golla 0, Semerad D. 0, Miranda 0, Carey 0.