DEFENDING champion Barangay Ginebra won’t be denied this time.
Ginebra leaned on a big game from Prince Caperal to roll back Phoenix Super LPG, 95-85, in their playoff game to
clinch the eighth and last quarterfinal berth in the 2021PBA Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Caperal played one of his best games as he scored 19 points in 32 minutes as a starter for the injury-depleted Ginebra, which earned the right to meet top seed Talk N Text in the quarterfinals.
The Gin Kings, however, need to beat the Tropang Giga twice.
“We’re struggling, but we’re able to show our winning attitude. Never say die lang talaga,” said Caperal in an interview posted in the official PBA website.
Stanley Pringle added 17 points, eight boards and four assists, Christian Standhardinger contributed a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds and Jared Dillinger had 13 points to power Ginebra to victory.
Jason Perkins finished with 15 points for Phoenix, which followed Terrafirma, Alaska Milk and Blackwater to the exit door.
Meanwhile, the best-of-three quarterfinal series between No. 3 Magnolia Pambansang Manok and No. 6 Rain or Shine and No. 4 SanMiguel Beer and No. 5 NorthPort will be played today at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym in Bacolor, Pampanga .
The Hotshots and the Elasto Painters square off at 2 p.m. before the Beermen and the Batang Pier collide at 4:35 p.m.
Both matches are expected to be close and exciting, according to PBA analysts.
Although Rain or Shine defeated Magnolia, 75-72 in their elimination round game, Magnolia finished with a better record of 8-3.
That included back-to-back wins capped by a convincing 100-90 victory over San Miguel last weekend.
Rain or Shine, on the other hand, finished sixth with 6-5 slate.
Still, Magnolia coach Chito Victolero expects a tight battle.
“We expect every game of this series to be down-the-wire. Each team is determined. Yung motivation nanduon.The team which can execute better on both ends mas maganda ang chances na manalo,” said Victolero.
His Rain or Shine counterpart, Chris Gavina, echoed the observation.
“We’ve prepared ourselves for nothing less than a grueling, grind-it-out, physical war against Magnolia,” said Gavina.
The San Miguel-NorthPort quarterfinal battle is also worth watching, with the rivalry between June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter on top of the conversation.
Slaughter finished with 23 points and 17 rebounds against the 19 points and 10 rebounds of the duo of Fajardo and Mo Tautuaa in the two teams’ tight battle in the elims at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig last July 25.
The Beermen, however, came away with a heart-stopping 88-86 victory over the Batang Pier courtesy of Arwind Santos; game-winning shot in the closing seconds.
“We’re building a winning culture. And with the victory, we’ll have a good momentum that we’ll try to carry on in the playoffs,” said NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio.
Jarencio will again rely on Slaughter, Robert Bolick, Sean Anthony, Kevin Ferrer and rookie Jamie Malonzo.
Fajardo, Tautuaa, Santos, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross and CJ Perez will lead the Beermen, who will play minus Terrence Romeo and Alex Cabagnot.
Ginebra (95) — Caperal 19, Pringle 17, Standhardinger 15, Dillinger 13, Tenorio 9, Devance 8, Mariano 8, Ayaay 4, Chan 2.
Phoenix (85) — Perkins 15, Banchero 14, Wright 14, Jazul 12, Pascual 11, Demusis 9, Muyang 5, Rios 3, Garcia 2, Calisaan 0, Melecio 0.
Quarterscores: 22-20, 49-38, 79-66, 95-85.