The streets of Barangay Ginebra are flowing with cheers and glee as the Gin Kings overcame a twice-to-beat deficit to not only beat the Alaska Aces, but also to setup a semifinals dream matchup between storied rivals, Star Hotshots.
Coach Tim Cone was unfazed facing his former team, with whom he built a legendary career, introducing the triangle offense into Philippine basketball, and it was in this same offense that Ginebra upset the Aces, not once but twice!
Another former Alaska team member, L.A. Tenorio went on a scoring tear dropping 31 points off teardrops, layups and three pointers. His offense powered Ginebra through a beast storm as Alaska’s own Calvin Abueva also went on a scoring rampage, putting up 29 for the Aces.
The game came down to who had more help, and Ginebra found it in their young guns. Aljon Mariano who had been absent till this game dropped 20 points in what could be the defining game of his career. Fellow former Growling Tiger Kevin Ferrer also joined in on the make-Alaska-have-a-bad-day party, scoring 15 points coming from beyond the arc and inside the paint. Of course there can’t be a conversation about young Ginebra players stepping up without mentioning Scottie Thompson who pushed and shoved his way to 10 points and 9 rebounds.
Meanwhile the Aces were missing in action. Vic Manuel exploited Ginebra’s vulnerability in the middle for a while, allowing him to rack up 23 points, but only JVee Casio would be the other Ace to score in double digits. With gunners Dondon Hontiveros and R.J. Jazul shooting blanks from outside, Ginebra was satisfied to meet Alaska in the paint, challenging their shots and running away with the rebounds.
It was a rare moment when Alaska, a normally organized, tight knit and well disciplined team, looked rattled and unraveled at the seams.
The servings of “Jaworski’s Secret Stuff” haven’t worn off from the Ginebra players and they should look to continue using its effects in the coming series against Coach Tim Cone’s other former team, the Star Hotshots.