Kings in solo lead
Mall of Asia Arena
5:45 p.m.- Barako Bull vs. Rain or Shine
8:00 p.m.- Alaska vs. San Mig
The Barangay Ginebra Kings, the league’s undisputed crowd darlings, and the Air21 Express emerged triumphant in the Christmas Day presentation of the 39th PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Kings exploited the absence of Petron’s top center June Mar Fajardo to nail a 97-83 win while the Express charged back from an 18-point first half deficit to defeat the GlobalPort Batang Pier in overtime, 109-103.
With Fajardo was sitting out due to an injured knee, Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter had a field day in the paint as they combined for 42 points and 19 rebounds, helping the Kings grab the top spot in the team standings with their eighth win against a solitary loss.
“Maganda yung binigay namin na gift sa fans. The players played hard and worked hard for it,” Ginebra coach Ato Agustin told pba.ph.
Mark Caguioa came off the bench to add 18 points, 10 of them in the fourth period where the Kings broke the game wide open.
Arwind Santos finished with 22 points for the Boosters, who absorbed their second straight defeat after a 7-0 start.
The Express, meanwhile, leaned on Joseph Yeo’s first career triple-double performance to snap a three-game slide although they remained at the bottom of the standings with a 2-8 (win-loss) card.
Yeo collected 19 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds, while veteran center Asi Taulava came up with his highest output in five years by chalking 28.
Mark Cardona also scored 28 markers as the Express avenged their 100-114 loss to the same GlobalPort squad in their initial meeting last Nov. 23.
Rookie Terrence Romeo exploded for 34 points in that encounter but only had 16 in the loss.
Sol Mercado had a big night, firing a game-high 35 markers but his effort wasn’t enough as Batang Pier tasted a second straight debacle and fell to 4-5.
AIR21 (109)– Taulava 28, Cardona 28, Yeo 19, Manuel 14, Canaleta 11, Camson 5, Jaime 2, Custodio 2.
GLOBALPORT (103)– Mercado 35, Washington 21, Romeo 16, Salva 9, Lingganay 7, Menk 5, Salvador 4, Yee 2, Hayes 2, Garcia 2.
GINEBRA (97)– Aguilar 25, Caguioa 18, Slaughter 17, Baracael 11, Ellis 8, Reyes 7, Urbiztondo 7, Monfort 3, Forrester 1.
PETRON (83)– Santos 22, Lutz 15, Ross 14, Kramer 11, Cabagnot 7, Lassiter 5, Lanete 4, Hubalde 4, Taha 1.
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