Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Kings dump Aces, force KO game on Christmas Day

Barangay Ginebra’s never-say-die spirit is at it again.

The Kings sent their PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals series with the Alaska Aces to a deciding Game Three by scoring a runaway 94-76 win Wednesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.

The do-or-die Game Three encounter will be held on Christmas Day at the Cuneta Astrodome.

For the record, Ginebra holds a superior 5-1 mark in games played on Christmas Day. The Gin Kings’ lone setback on this special day was handed by the Talk `N Text Tropang Texters, 115-104, during the 2006 Fiesta Conference.

In Game 2, the Kings' plan was simple — limit the production of Alaska's leading scorer Joe DeVance.

And they did exactly that. 

DeVance, who came away with a career-high 30 points last Sunday, was held to only seven points, his lowest output this season. He went 3-of-9 from the field, visited the free throw line just once for a pair of charities and missed all his four attempts from beyond the arc.

This is the first time this conference that the former top overall rookie pick failed to score in double digits.

With their top gunner struggling, the rest of the Aces couldn’t get on track as well, scoring a measly 27 points in the second half.

Parang nag-relax ang Alaska knowing that they have an advantage in the series," observed Ginebra coach Jong Uichico. 

Mark Caguioa came off the bench to score 20 points in leading Ginebra’s cause. Willie Miller added 16, and Rudy Hatfield collected 16 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists.

But what was special in Ginebra’s win was its limited number of turnovers. The team only had five turnovers in 48 minutes — one in the opening half — a big accomplishment for Uichico and his wards. 

“That’s the number we targeted," he said “That’s good. Now, we have an even chance on Saturday. I just hope we can play with the same defensive intensity and attitude."

Enrico Villanueva contributed eight rebounds and Mike Cortez added 13 points as the Kings’ bench outscored the Aces', 38-25.

Sonny Thoss led the Aces with 18 points and 10 rebounds as he took the cudgels from DeVance, while Cyrus Baguio had 11 points, but shot a measly 2-of-15 from the field. 

Baguio missed all his nine attempts from the two-point range.

Short on the offensive end, all the Aces could do was level the score at 49-all by halftime.

From there, it was all Barangay Ginebra.

The Kings outscored the Aces in the third, 27-14, to take a 76-63 lead entering the final quarter.

The closest the Aces could get was within 10, at 66-76, but the Kings answered back with two perfectly-run fastbreak plays anchored on Miller and comebacking JC Intal to give Ginebra an 80-66 advantage with 10:12 left to play.

Caguioa’s basket at the 3:12 mark gave the Kings their biggest lead of the game, 90-72. - KY, RCJ, GMANews.TV

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