CRUCIAL VICTORY. Barangay Ginebra secures its outright seeding in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs after outlasting NLEX in a crucial road clash in Legazpi, Albay on Saturday, January 13, 2024. PBA PHOTO
Barangay Ginebra showcased its resilience and tenacity, securing a hard-fought 103-99 victory over NLEX in a crucial road clash in Legazpi, Albay on Saturday, January 13, 2024.
The win not only solidified the Gin Kings’ Top 4 position but also ensured an outright seeding in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs.
Stanley Pringle emerged as the hero for Ginebra, sinking crucial free throws in the final five seconds to seal the deal and secure at least the fourth spot in the eliminations. The Kings finished the regular season with an 8-3 record, joining San Miguel Beer and Meralco in a tie for the third and fourth positions.
The victory was a testament to Ginebra’s ability to perform under pressure, with key players making clutch plays when it mattered the most. Tony Bishop, Maverick Ahanmisi, and Christian Standhardinger all contributed with critical shots, aiding Ginebra in overcoming an 11-point deficit in the third quarter and a 91-94 disadvantage in the last 3:54 of the game.
As the regular season concludes, the playoff picture remains dynamic. Phoenix has an opportunity to create a four-way tie from the second to fifth positions with a win over TNT on Sunday.
However, Meralco is set to occupy the fifth spot, missing out on a coveted twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals due to an inferior quotient.
The pressure was palpable for Ginebra, knowing that their bid for a twice-to-beat bonus was under heavy threat. Yet, the Kings rose to the occasion, pushing NLEX to the brink and ultimately securing the crucial victory.
The fate of NLEX now hangs in the balance, with a closing record of 4-7. The Road Warriors’ playoff aspirations hinge on the result of the game between TNT and Phoenix. A win by the Tropang Giga (4-6) would end NLEX’s bid, leaving them with a 4-7 record. In such a scenario, NLEX would need to face a knockout game to settle their duel for the eighth spot in the quarterfinals.
In the intense battle for positioning, Ginebra’s comeback from an 11-point deficit and their ability to navigate challenging late-game situations showcased their championship pedigree.
With their superior differential, both the Beermen and the Gin Kings secured the third and fourth spots, earning a win-once bonus after the tiebreak.
Meanwhile, Meralco found itself at No. 5, facing a twice-to-win disadvantage in the Last-8.
As the playoffs loom, the stage is set for thrilling matchups and high-stakes showdowns in the quest for PBA supremacy.