Japeth Aguilar came up big on defense while Othyus Jeffers delivered the goods on offense in crunch time as Barangay Ginebra outlasted Star, 92-87, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Sunday at the jampacked Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With the Gin Kings trailing 79-85 with 5:55 left, Jeffers scored 4 points in a 6-0 run that tied the match at 85-all with a little over 3 minutes remaining on the clock.
Both teams traded scores before an Aguilar block on Denzel Bowles led to a free-throw line jumper from LA Tenorio, giving Ginebra an 89-87 advantage with 28.8 seconds left.
Tight defense by the Kings forced Jason Webb to call his last timeout, but Bowles could only muster a missed midrange attempt with 17.6 ticks on the clock.
Mark Caguioa missed a wide-open shot in the ensuing play, but Greg Slaughter was there to clean it up and put it back for Ginebra, making the basket and netting a foul in the process.
The 7-foot giant calmly sank the bonus free-throw to push the Kings’ lead to 92-87, effectively sealing the fate of the Hotshots.
Jeffers led all scorers with 23 points while also tallying 15 rebounds and 7 assists even as 3 other Ginebra stars in Aguilar, Slaughter and Tenorio finished in double figures.
Mark Barroca exploded for 14 of his 16 points in the 3rd period, but was held scoreless in the final canto.
Bowles, meanwhile, missed 12 of his 18 shots to wound up with 15 points, 8 boards and 5 dimes.