In an intense and thrilling encounter at the Ynares Arena, Barangay Ginebra showcased its resilience and depth as it defeated NLEX with a final score of 91-85.
However, the victory was dampened by a concerning knee injury suffered by Fil-Am standout Jeremiah Gray.
Despite the unfortunate incident, the Kings found strength in their reserves, particularly Donald Gumaru and Ralph Cu, who led a pivotal charge in the fourth quarter to secure the win and a 6-5 record in the PBA On Tour preseason series.
The game took a devastating turn when Jeremiah Gray, amid an impressive performance, suffered a serious knee injury late in the third quarter. He was immediately attended to by medical personnel and had to be stretchered off the court and rushed to the hospital for further evaluation. Before his exit from the game, Gray tallied eight points, seven rebounds, five assists, two blocks, and one steal, highlighting his impact on the court.
Despite the setback, Ginebra’s bench stepped up to the plate, seizing the opportunity to shine. The trio of Donald Gumaru, Ralph Cu, and Jayson David, alongside Sidney Onwubere and Von Pessumal, rallied together in the crucial moments of the game, leading a decisive 20-9 run. This surge proved pivotal, breaking a 71-all deadlock and propelling the Kings to a hard-earned victory, securing them a respectable 6-5 record in the preseason series.
With several key players absent from their lineup, Barangay Ginebra demonstrated their depth and resilience, finishing in joint fifth place with the Converge FiberXers. The Kings’ ability to compete against formidable opponents even without their core players showcased their versatility and potential heading into the regular season.
On the other side, the NLEX Road Warriors ended their preseason campaign with a 5-6 record, sharing the seventh spot with the NorthPort Batang Pier. Although the Road Warriors displayed a valiant effort, they fell short against a determined Ginebra squad.
At the top of the standings, Magnolia maintained a perfect 11-0 record, leading the pack as the preseason’s top team. Rain or Shine secured second place with an 8-3 record, while Blackwater and Meralco claimed third and fourth places, respectively, both with a 7-4 record.
The lower half of the standings comprised Terrafirma (4-7), Phoenix Super LPG (3-8), San Miguel Beer (3-8), and TNT (1-10).
Von Pessumal was instrumental in Ginebra’s triumph, making an impressive six three-pointers en route to a total of 23 points. Onwubere, Gumaru and Raymond Aguilar also contributed significantly, each adding at least 11 points to the Kings’ tally.
On the NLEX side, Sean Anthony led the charge with an impressive 26-point performance, accompanied by nine rebounds and five steals. Anthony Semerad showcased his skills with 24 points and eight boards, while Don Trollano added 12 points to the losing team’s effort.
Despite the outcome, both teams displayed commendable effort and showcased their potential in the preseason series. As the regular PBA season approaches, basketball fans eagerly anticipate the thrilling matchups and impressive performances that lie ahead.