2014 PBA Governors’ Cup: Air 21 and Ginebra win!

The Express utilized great outside shooting to beat Rain or Shine, while the Gin Kings dominated inside to repel the Batang Pier in action from the PBA last night.

Dom Sutton (top) and Zack Mason (bottom) led their respective
teams to separate wins last night.

First game:
Eager to prove that their surprising top four finish in the Commissioner’s Cup was no fluke, the Air 21 Express got to work early and often, beating the Rain or Shine Elasto-Painters, 103-96. And, once again, it was Asi Taulava who really anchored Air 21’s game on both ends. The ageless big man had 19 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal for the Express. He dominated in the paint, shooting 8/16 from the field and basically making minced meat out of anything ROS threw at him.

Rain or Shine did a pretty good job defensively, forcing 25 Air 21 turnovers, but this was offset by the fact they were outrebounded, 54-36. Import Arizona Reid, in fact, was the only guy who had more than 3 boards for the Painters.  To compound things, Rain or Shine also fared badly from the free throw line. They were +16 in FT attempts, but shot just 56%, making only 19 of 34 freebies.

Sharp shooting: Coach Franz Pumaren enjoyed really sharp sniping from his wards in this game. As a team, Air 21 connected on 48% of their threes, with four guys each making 2 or more treys. Joseph Yeo, Mark Borboran, and Jonas Villanueva each tossed in 2 tripes, while Aldrech Ramos impressed with 3 three-point makes. In contrast, ROS made just 5 of its 22 attempts from rainbow country.

Second game:
It’s not often we talk about Ginebra’s defensive effort, but the Gin Kings really put the clamps on the Batang Pier in their W, 89-71. Ginebra’s D forced GlobalPort to shoot just 18% from beyond the arc and 35% overall from the field. The Kings also utilized their size advantage to the hilt, nearly doubling up on the Batang Pier’s rebound total, 60-32. 

It was a big surprise that Yousef Taha started in the middle for GlobalPort, but it wasn’t a shocker that he didn’t really do much. The former Mapua slotman recorded 0 points in 19 minutes of play, failing time and again to stifle his Ginebra counterpart, Greg Slaughter. Coach Pido Jarencio probably thought Taha could do a serviceable job as starting center, but, yeah, it’s safe to say that didn’t work out.

Formidable Frontline: Import Zack Mason and former Gilas Pilipinas center Greg Slaughter just dominated GlobalPort in this debut win for new coach Jeff Cariaso. Mason and Slaughter paired up for 40 points, 32 rebounds, 7 assists, and 4 blocks as the Gin Kings could do no wrong in the paint. GlobalPort’s Taha, Jay Washington, Jondan Salvador, Eric Menk, and Jewel Ponferrada all had their turns in futilely trying to contain Ginebra’s formidable frontline.

Game recap by Rey Joble/InterAKTV:

AIR 21 over RAIN OR SHINE, 103-96

The Air 21 Express opened their PLDT Home Telpad Governors’ Cup campaign on a high note, leading almost wire-to-wire for a 103-96 victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Tuesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Veteran center Asi Taulava scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Air 21 to their first victory over Rain or Shine since the current Express team joined the PBA as the Shopinas.com Clickers in 2011.

“We wanted to come out there to be physical, we want to treat every game as a playoff game,” said Taulava.

Import Dominique Sutton added 25 points while Joseph Yeo chipped in 18 for the Express, who are coming off an inspiring run in the Commissioner’s Cup playoffs that saw them take down heavily-favored San Miguel Beer in the quarters before pushing eventual champion San Mig Coffee in the semis.

“It’s a good start for us. Like what I told our players, let us consider each game as a playoff game,” said Air 21 coach Franz Pumaren.

“Our goal right now is to make sure that what we accomplished last conference is not a fluke, that we’re contenders now.”

Taulava echoed his coach’s thoughts.

“Once you taste success, it’s so hard to let go.”

Rain or Shine’s only lead of the game came in the first possession, after import Arizona Reid gave the Elasto Painters a 2-0 edge.

Air 21 dominated the rest of the way, pushing the lead to as much as 17 points, 76-59, midway through the third quarter.

The Elasto Painters chipped away at the deficit in the fourth quarter, coming to within six points, 97-91, with still a minute remaining.

But Jeff Chan airballed a three-point attempt that could have put them closer, allowing Air 21 to come away with the game.

AIR 103 – Sutton 25, Taulava 19, Yeo 18, Ramos 11, Borboran 8, Villanueva 6, Camson 6, Jaime 4, Atkins 3, Cardona 3, Poligrates 0, Burtscher 0.
ROS 96 – Reid 20, Belga 14, Chan 12, Lee 11, Norwood 11, Nuyles 7, Ibanes 6, Arana 5, Almazan 4, Rodriguez 4, Uyloan 2, Tiu 0, Tang 0.
QS: 33-24, 62-50, 85-73, 103-96

Arizona Reid goes up strong against Air 21.

Asi Taulava continues to defy his age in the PBA.

Dom Sutton made some impressive numbers for the Express.


It didn’t take long for newly-minted head coach Jeffrey Cariaso to secure his first win in the PBA, after Barangay Ginebra San Miguel made quick work of GlobalPort, 89-71, in PLDT Home TVolution Telpad action on Tuesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Import Zaccheus Mason had 21 points and 15 rebounds in his first PBA game. A day after turning 26, Greg Slaughter finished with 19 points and 17 rebounds for Ginebra in Cariaso’s coaching debut.

“Greg is your perfect triangle center, he’s real strong and real big. Obviously there’s a mismatch today, he just opened it up for everybody else,” said Cariaso.

Slaughter and Mason dominated down low to key a quick 9-2 run in the third quarter to push the lead to 14 points, 68-54.

The frontcourt duo continued to pounce in the fourth quarter as the Gin Kings doused water on any GlobalPort uprising.

Cariaso took over for Ginebra after almost three seasons as an assistant coach with the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers under coach Tim Cone. The Gin Kings showed glimpses of the triangle offense, the vaunted system preferred by Cone.

“What impressed me so far is just the guys willing to run the triangle. It’s not easy to run, not easy to get disciplined when you feel nothing’s happening, but with that, so far, I’m happy with how my guys are performing,” said Cariaso.

But they really made their hay on the defensive end, where they made life difficult for GlobalPort’s top guns. Import LeRoy Hickerson and Alex Cabagnot combined for 51 points, while the rest of the Batang Pier had just 20.

Taking a page out of the San Mig Coffee playbook, Ginebra held GlobalPort to below 36 percent shooting from the field. The Gin Kings also ruled the paint, outrebounding GlobalPort 60-32.

GIN 89 – Mason 21, Slaughter 19, Caguioa 15, Ellis 10, Aguilar 8, Baracael 7, Monfort 3, Reyes 2, Helterbrand 2, Mamaril 2, Knuttel 0, Tenorio 0, Urbiztondo 0.
GLO 71 – Hickerson 30, Cabagnot 21, Washington 6, Macapagal 5, Salvador 4, Garcia 3, Menk 2, Matias 0, Taha 0, Ponferrada 0, Salva 0.
QS: 18-14, 41-39, 68-56, 89-71

Greg Slaughter had one of his best games so far against GlobalPort.

LeRoy Hickerson emphatically jams one home.

Zack Mason pulls up over Nico Salva.

Images by Paolo Papa and Paul Ryan Tan/Sports 5.

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