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Barangay Ginebra snaps 2-game skid, secures 110-96 win over Meralco Bolts

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Barangay Ginebra San Miguel roared back to form, snapping a two-game slide and securing a significant 110-96 victory over the Meralco Bolts in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on December 22, 2023.

The turning point in the game came when Ginebra capitalized on a brief absence by Meralco’s Zach Lofton, who was sidelined for three minutes after a flagrant foul. Seizing the opportunity, the Gin Kings pulled away from a closely contested 53-50 scoreline at the start of the second half, ultimately securing a crucial win that propelled them to a tie with idle San Miguel Beer for fourth place at 5-3.

Coach Tim Cone, eager to position his team for a top-four finish and the coveted twice-to-beat advantage in the quarters, expressed the importance of securing such an advantage in the postseason. The Kings showcased their determination to bounce back, setting the stage for a high-stakes Christmas Day clash against the TNT Tropang Giga.

“Twice-to-beat in the quarters is a huge advantage, and we want to be in the Top 4 to get that,” emphasized Cone, highlighting the significance of the upcoming matchup against TNT.

The victory was made even more impressive with the return of ace combo guard Scottie Thompson, who played a pivotal role in energizing the team. Cone acknowledged the challenge posed by Meralco’s four-game winning streak and praised his players for stepping up to halt the Bolts’ momentum.

Cone said the Kings were challenged to come out, appreciating the sterling effort put forth by his team to overcome a team in a good run of form.

Meralco, previously riding a six-game winning streak, faced a formidable Ginebra squad that executed a well-coordinated effort on both ends of the floor. Despite Lofton’s commendable scoring output of 23 points, his impact was neutralized, and he struggled to regain his rhythm after the flagrant infraction.

The Kings capitalized on Lofton’s brief absence, with key players making significant contributions. 

Maverick Ahanmisi led all scorers with 25 points, complemented by three rebounds and three assists. Scottie Thompson, making a triumphant return from injury, notched 21 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. Christian Standhardinger delivered a near triple-double performance with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists, showcasing his versatility. Jamie Malonzo and Tony Bishop also played crucial roles in the second-half breakaway, contributing 17 and 12 points, respectively.

With this resounding victory, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel reasserts itself as a formidable contender in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, positioning itself for a strong playoff push and signaling that the Kings are indeed back in the hunt for championship glory.

The boxscores:

Barangay Ginebra 110 – Ahanmisi 25, Thompson 21, Standhardinger 21, Malonzo 17, Bishop 12, Pringle 7, J.Aguilar 7, Tenorio 0, Onwubere 0.

Meralco 96 – Lofton 23, Hodge 17, Black 14, Maliksi 10, Quinto 10, Newsome 9, Almazan 6, Pascual 4, Banchero 3, Torres 0, Bates 0, Rios 0.

Quarters: 24-25, 53-50, 84-75, 110-96.

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