14 April 2016

Bolts 90, Ginebra 103

Arinze Onuaku
Barangay Ginebra pounced on a Meralco side that had nothing to lose as it rolled to a 103-90 victory last 13 April at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum to get assured of a better seeding in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals.

The Gin Kings lived up to their promise of shifting into playoff mode early as they established an early and hardly showed any let up to cruise to their second straight win that allowed them to gain a piece of third spot with Rain or Shine with a 7-4 win-loss card.

LA Tenorio sustained his fine playmaking, Greg Slaughter aced his test against import Arinze Onuaku, while Othyus Jeffers put up an all-around performance as he missed a triple-double by an assist.

Ginebra thus avoided going down to as low as seventh seed that came with a twice-to-win disadvantage.

The pacesetting Bolts, whose three-game winning streak was snapped to finish the eliminations at 8-3, are still assured of one of the top two spots that entail a twice-to-beat edge in the next round.

"We obviously had a lot more at stake than they did," Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said.

Tenorio tallied 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, four boards, three assists, and one steal in 33 minutes, while Slaughter registered 21 points, four boards, and four assists. The 7-foot slotman also did a solid defensive job on Onuaku, who was held to his lowest scoring output this conference with just 10 points on just eight attempts.

Jeffers, for his part, scattered 15 rebounds, 11 points, and nine assists, while Mark Caguioa reached a milestone as his 16 points added to his career scoring total to 9,430 that allowed him to tie former Ginebra player Arnie Tuadles for 18th all time.

But as far as Arinze Onuaku is concerned, his poor offensive performance wasn't entirely due to the Gin Kings’ defense.

"We didn’t come out to play today. It didn't really have much to do with that," said Onuaku. We just didn't have the energy we usually have and we didn’t execute the way we execute."

Onuaku certainly wasn’t able to play his usual game and his numbers reflected the kind of game he and the Bolts had.

"We've been playing a certain way all conference long and it was probably the second time we didn’t have the energy that we used to," he said. "Everybody’s going to double or triple-team me. We know that, but the thing is I got to stay aggressive and my teammates stay aggressive, play our style of basketball."
And it wasn’t just the offense as Onuaku pointed out.

"We got to continue to play defense. We didn’t play defense today."

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