The Barangay Ginebra Kings chalked up their first win in the semifinals with a 95-87 defeat of the San Miguel Beermen in Game 3 in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Japeth Aguilar was the leading scorer for the Kings, finishing the game with 25 points on 9-of-14 field goals. He also grabbed 12 rebounds and had three assists. LA Tenorio added 15 points, while Prince Caperal and Jervy Cruz each chipped in 12 markers.
Ginebra took a 45-39 lead at halftime thanks to their 52-percent shooting from the field and after getting contributions from Jervy Cruz and LA Tenorio who scored 10 and nine points, respectively. In the third frame, the Kings extended their lead to nine on a dunk from Aguilar. An Arwind Santos triple in the ensuing play cut it to six, 52-46, before Tenorio completed a three-point play on the other end to push the margin back up to nine, 8:33 in the third.
Aguilar went perfect from the line to make it a 10-point game, but San Miguel scored on four straight free throws to come closer, 57-50. Ginebra unleashed a 7-2 blast, anchored on Tenorio's three-pointer, to widen the gap to a dozen, 64-52, midway through the third. A layup from June Mar Fajardo a few plays after inched the Beermen within 11, but Devance countered on the other end with a trey to give Ginebra a 14-point cushion, 74-60. San Miguel again trimmed the lead to 11 after a Matt Ganuelas-Rosser fastbreak layup but Aguilar knocked down a three-pointer with four seconds remaining in the third to keep the Kings in front, 79-65.
A Jervy Cruz jumper had Ginebra up by 14 points early in the fourth period before the Beermen went on a 9-0 spurt, capped by Brian Heruela's triple, to cut the deficit to just five, 83-78, 7:35 remaining in the game. After a Ginebra miss, Cruz was called for a flagrant foul penalty 1 for hitting Cabagnot, who knocked down a pair of free throws to inch San Miguel within three. The Kings had nothing going on their next offensive possession but Prince Caperal drained a three at the end of the shot clock to give his team some breathing room, 86-80, 5:39 left.
Fajardo made a split from the line before Ginebra scored on the next two trips down to push their lead back up to nine, 90-81, 4:38 to go. Fajardo's deuce and two freebies from Santos made it a five-point game. After an empty trip from Ginebra, Fajardo added two more free throws but Aguilar answered on the other end with a putback dunk off a Devance miss to keep Ginebra on top by five, 92-87, 1:50 left on the clock. San Miguel had a chance to cut into the lead but Fajardo was called for a violation, giving the ball back to the Kings with 1:28 remaining. Tenorio then sealed the victory for Ginebra with a three-point play to put his team on top by eight, 95-87, 32 seconds left in the game.
Fajardo paced the Beermen with a double-double of 23 points and 16 rebounds, while Lassiter scored 14 points.
BARANGAY GINEBRA 95 - Aguilar 25, Tenorio 18, Caperal 12, Cruz 12, Devance 11, Thompson 9, Mercado 8, Ferrer 0, Manuel 0.
SAN MIGUEL 87 - Fajardo 23, Lassiter 14, Santos 13, Cabagnot 13, Ganuelas-Rosser 8, Ross 6, Lanete 5, Heruela 3, Espinas 2, Mamaril 0, De Ocampo 0, Pessumal 0.
Quarters: 19-15, 45-39, 79-65, 95-87.
- Chris Ross played only 16 minutes in Game 3. He sat out the rest of the game due to a right thigh strain. He contributed six points, five rebounds, three assists and one steal.
- Arwind Santos was called for a flagrant foul penalty 1 after hitting Japeth Aguilar on the head when the Ginebra forward drove to the basket at the 3:33 mark of the third period. Jervy Cruz was also hit with a flagrant foul penalty 1 after elbowing Alex Cabagnot on a rebound play at the 6:07 mark of the fourth.
Game 4 on March 15 at the MOA Arena