2013 PBA Philippine Cup Roundup: December 25, 2013

Christmas day in the 2013-2014 PBA Philippine Cup thrilled the crowd, with Air 21 upending GlobalPort in overtime and the Ginebra Gin Kings lording over the short-handed Petron Blaze Boosters.

Joseph Yeo had a breakout game against the Batang Pier.
(image by KC Cruz/PBA)

In the first game, Air 21 outlasted GlobalPort in overtime, 109-103, with Asi "The Rock" Taulava playing as solid as, well, a rock (hehe saw what happened there?). Asi shot 11/17 from the field, grabbed 13 rebounds, and blocked 1 shot in 44 minutes. FORTY-FOUR minutes! I mean, Asi is almost that old! He dropped 28 points total to keep the Express in the thick of things throughout the game, especially after they fell behind by as many as 17 points in the second half. He did foul out early in the overtime period, but his contributions were enough to put his team in a great position to win.

Statistically speaking, the key things that did the Batang Pier in were rebounding and taking care of the basketball. GlobalPort allowed three Express players -- Taulava, Joseph Yeo, and Vic Manuel -- to get double-digit rebounds. As a team, the Batang Pier were outworked on the glass, 53-50, which led to the coach Richie Ticzon's wards getting outscored, 15-4, in terms of second-chance points. Also, GlobalPort turned the ball over 5 more times than Air 21, with Jay Washington on top of the list, coughing the ball up four times.

Former collegiate running mates Joseph Yeo and Mac Cardona have been reunited in the Air 21 roster, along with former coach Franz Pumaren, and that DLSU connection shone through on Christmas Day. Yeo recorded his first-ever career triple-double, scoring 19 points, collaring 10 rebounds, and dishing out 14 assists while also netting 2 steals. Cardona, meanwhile, broke out with 28 markers on 12/20 FG shooting, 4 rebounds, and 2 dimes in just 29 minutes of play. If Air 21 can have these guys playing this way consistently, then the Express might just turn their fortunes around.

In the main game, Ginebra overcame Petron Blaze, 97-83. Japeth Aguilar shone under the bright lights of Christmas Day and in front of more than 20,00 screaming fans at the Mall of Asia Arena. The Gilas mainstay shot 8/14 from the floor on his way to a game-high 25 points on top of 11 rebounds and 2 rejections. Aguilar also impressed from the line, making 9 of his 12 free throws as the Gin Kings dealt Petron its second straight defeat. Consequently, Ginebra annexed first place with this W. A helluva Christmas gift for their many fans!

Petron Blaze managed to compete and do well in the paint despite not having the season's current best big man, June Mar Fajardo. The Boosters outrebounded Ginebra, 53-48, with both Arwind Santos and Doug Kramer gobbling up a total of 26 rebounds. They wasted this unexpected advantage, though, as they shot a poor 36% from the field, including just 2/16 from rainbow country. The chief brick-builders were Chris Lutz, Alex Cabagnot, and Marcio Lassiter, who combined for 7/29 shooting.

Other guys who did really well for Ginebra were Mark Caguioa, Greg Slaughter, and Mac Baracael. Caguioa shot 9/13 from the field on his way to 18 points, while Baracael drained three triples on his way to 11 markers. Slaughter, for his part, tossed in 17 points, hauled down 8 rebounds, and blocked 2 shots in another solid effort in the middle. This compensated for the 0-point output of star playmaker LA Tenorio, who missed all eight field goal attempts and turned the ball over four times.

Mark Caguioa and the Kings gave their fans the perfect Christmas gift yesterday.
(image by KC Cruz/PBA)

Game Recaps:
AIR 21 over GLOBALPORT, 109-103 (OT)
The Air 21 Express bucked the absence of main man Asi Taulava down the stretch to pull out a 109-103 Christmas Day victory in overtime in PLDT MyDSL Philippine Cup action at Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday.

After scoring 28 points and 13 rebounds, Taulava fouled out with 2:22 left in the extra period with Air 21 still down, 100-99.

But instead of folding, the rest of the Express stepped up. KG Canaleta hit a tough three-pointer that gave the lead for good in the ensuing possession.

Vic Manuel and Joseph Yeo hit three of four free throws in the next two plays to give Air 21 a 105-100 margin. Jay Washington scored a three-point play over Canaleta with 36 seconds left to give GlobalPort some life.

But Mac Cardona sealed the game with a floater with 17.9 seconds remaining, and hit two more free throws for the final margin.

Cardona finished with 28 points, while Joseph Yeo recorded a triple-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 14 assists for Air 21, which won for just the second time in 10 games.

Vic Manuel added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Express, who clawed back from a 17-point deficit in the second quarter.

Sol Mercado led GlobalPort with 35 points while Jay Washington had 21 points and nine rebounds. Terrence Romeo added 16 points and seven rebounds for the Batang Pier, who dropped their second straight game for a 4-5 win-loss record.

A21 109 - Taulava 28, Cardona 28, Yeo 19, Manuel 14, Canaleta 11, Camson 5, Jaime 2, Custodio 2, Menor 0, Arboleda 0, Sharma 0.
GLO 103 - Mercado 35, Washington 21, Romeo 16, Salva 9, Lingganay 7, Menk 5, Salvador 4, Yee 2, Hayes 2, Garcia 2, Nabong 0, Chua 0.
QS: 21-32, 47-53, 70-66, 93-93, 109-103

Coach Franz Pumaren is hoping his wards can play with a lot more consistently.
(image by Paul Ryan Tan/AKTV)

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel took advantage of a Petron Blaze Boosters squad playing without top center June Mar Fajardo for a 97-83 victory on Christmas Day at Mall of Asia Arena.

Gin Kings coach Ato Agustin said it was the team’s present for fans of the league’s most popular squad.

“Maganda yung binigay na gift,” said Agustin as some 20,448 fans packed the venue, with most of them cheering lustily for the Gin Kings.

The victory, Ginebra’s eighth in nine games, gave the Gin Kings the top spot in the PLDT MyDSL Philippine Cup standings.

Japeth Aguilar led the way with 25 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks, while frontcourt partner added 17 points and eight rebounds as the twin towers of Ginebra pounced on the shorter Petron squad with Fajardo out with an injured knee.

Agustin said he told his players not to let their guards down despite Fajardo not suiting up.

“Whether he played or not, kailangan (sundin) yung gameplan natin,” said Agustin.

Petron was still within striking distance, 71-65, early in the fourth period, before Mark Caguioa sparked an 18-7 run that put the game away.

Caguioa finished with 18 points in just 22 minutes for the Gin Kings, who won their sixth straight game.

Petron fought gallantly, even winning the battle of the boards 53-48. But without Fajardo to attract the defense, the Boosters shot just 36 percent from the field, including a woeful 2-of-16 from beyond the arc.

In contrast, Ginebra got its way against Petron’s defense, shooting 50 percent from the field.

Arwind Santos led the fight with 22 points and 12 rebounds for Petron, which lost for the second straight match after winning its first seven assignments.

GIN 97 – Aguilar 25, Caguioa 18, Slaughter 17, Baracael 11, Ellis 8, Reyes 7, Urbiztondo 7, Monfort 3, Forrester 1, Ababou 0, Helterbrand 0, Tenorio 0, Faundo 0.
PET 83 – Santos 22, Lutz 15, Ross 14, Kramer 11, Cabagnot 7, Lassiter 5, Lanete 4, Hubalde 4, Taha 1, Duncil 0, Tubid 0, Deutchman 0.
QS: 28-19, 47-42, 71-63, 97-83.

Source: Unless otherwise specified, game recaps were compressed and compiled from InterAKTV. (Writing credit to Rey Joble)

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