GIN 101 – NLEX 92
Maybe it’s the tongue lashing they get at half time from Coach Tim Cone. Maybe they’re a team that runs on diesel fuel that needs a whole half to get things going. Maybe they just have some magic in them. But Ginebra once again showed that a game-defining third quarter is all they need to pull out a win.
The Barangay hung 42 points against the struggling Road Warriors in the third quarter to pull away for their third straight win. Ginebra’s offense wasn’t the only thing clicking after the halftime break. They also limited NLEX to just 14 points.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair between both teams.
NLEX, desperate for a win, played with more energy in the first half. Their offense looked crisp as they took advantage of a lackadaisical Ginebra defense to get their points. The Road Warriors were able to find open cutters inside and their guards were able to penetrate easier than expected. The Road Warriors were able to build a nine-point lead in the second quarter when Wayne Chism found his range and dropped outside jumpers, even with defenders rushing to contest his shots.
Ginebra’s locals kept the team afloat in the first half.
Joe Devance was on fire early in the game. It seemed as if the veteran forward has gotten over the injury hump. He scored 11 of his 18 points in the first quarter, missing only one of his six shots. Devance was semingly the only Ginebra player that came to play early in the game as the team’s offense exclusively came from him.
In the second quarter it was LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar who teamed up to cut down the NLEX lead. Aguilar was aggressive on the offensive glass, getting put-backs and easy shots off rebounds. Tenorio found his groove in the quarter, scoring five points and managing the team better. He and Aguilar connected on a fast break alley-oop that reduced their deficit to just two points.
Ginebra went into the break down by one point. After their third quarter magic, they entered the final quarter up by 27.
They looked like a totally different team after the halftime break. Their offense was clicking and their defense looked rock solid. There was one play early in the third quarter that epitomized the change in Ginebra’s energy.
Chism got the rebound off a Ginebra miss and tried to throw a long outlet pass to Kevin Alas to get the fast break started. Devance read the pass perfectly and intercepted it. Once he got control of the ball, he didn’t rush to get a shot before the NLEX defense set. Instead he kicked the ball out to Brownlee in the left wing. Brownlee drew Chism out and then dished the ball to Thompson in the left corner. Thompson quickly passed to a cutting Tenorio who sucked in the defense before passing to the man responsible for the renewed offensive possession. Devance found himself wide open for a three-pointer on the right wing.
Ginebra’s outside shot was falling. And when their outside jumper is working, they’re a tough team to stop. Justin Brownlee burned the nets for three treys to lead the team in pulling away. They took away NLEX’s easy inside shots as Ginebra tightened up their interior and forced them to tough looks outside.
The Barangay still has a lot of work ahead. They can’t rely on third quarter magic especially against the top teams in the league. But Ginebra is making their way up the standings, they just need to be more consistent to stay on top.