Ginebra holds off last-minute Phoenix rally, chalks up fourth straight win

ANTIPOLO CITY–Barangay Ginebra showed steely nerves down the stretch, relying on its steady defensive effort to outlast a fighting Phoenix side, 96-87 for its fourth straight win in the PBA Governors Cup Wednesday at the Ynares Center.

Japeth Aguilar earned Best Player of the game honors after finishing with all-around numbers of 12 points, five rebounds and four blocks.

The 6-foot-9 Aguilar’s two-handed dunk gave Ginebra a 94-87 cushion with 1:22 left in the game.

The Kings pesky defense held the Fuel Masters scoreless for the rest of the way as they chalked up their eighth win in 10 games.

Ginebra already secured a twice-to-beat advantage and will wind up its elimination roud schedule against tournament leader TNT (9-1) on Sunday in Binan, Laguna.

The loss, on the other, placed Phoenix in a precarious situation after dropping at eighth spot with its 5-6 card.

Phoenix can clinch a playoff spot outright if Rain or Shine (4-6) falls to Star in its last assignment in the eliminations.

But if Rain or Shine beats Star, Phoenix will face either Alaska (if the Aces fall to NLEX) or the Elasto Painters (if the Aces defeat the Road Warriors) for the last spot.

Justin Brownlee led Ginebra with 28 points and nine rebounds while LA Tenorio added 15, four assists an three rebounds.

Rookie guard Scottie Thompson only had three points but hauled down 16 boards and five assists for the Kings.

Eugene Phelps led the Fuel Masters with 24 points and 16 rebounds in a losing effort.