Ginebra outduels Magnolia in PBA’s Manila Clasico showdown

Japeth Aguilar takes it strong to the hole (PBA)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel banked on a solid fourth-quarter outing to fend off the Magnolia Hotshots Chicken Timplados, 87-77, during the Manila Clasico thriller in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup on March 31, 2024, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

After a nip-and-tuck affair in the first three quarters, the Gin Kings showed poise under pressure in the final 12 minutes of the game to hand Magnolia its first loss of the Philippine Cup conference.

It was Magnolia who came out on top after the first half when they held a slim three-point lead courtesy of the hot shooting of Ian Sangalang and pesky point guard Jio Jalalon.

The duo steered the Chicken Timplados heading into the third quarter but the Gin Kings’ defensive adjustment paid off dividends when the second half began.

To control their wide-open looks down the paint, head coach Tim Cone deployed a mixed man-to-man and zone defense that disrupted Magnolia’s flow in the game.

After that sequence, Ginebra’s offense then started to roll as the trio of Maverick Ahanmisi, Stanley Pringle, and Japeth Aguilar connived in the final seven minutes of the game.

With 36 seconds left and Magnolia seeking to claw their way back, Ahanmisi played a major spoiler after sinking the cold-blooded dagger that ballooned Ginebra’s lead back to double-digits.

Pringle spearheaded Ginebra’s fiery second-half rally with 17 big points built from a 7/13 shooting from the field alongside six assists.

Meanwhile, the duo of Ahanmisi and Aguilar each contributed 16 markers with most of their points coming in the crucial stretch in the final canto.

Despite a rough shooting night from superstar small forward Jamie Malonzo, the athletic swingman was still able to produce 11 points while also grabbing nine rebounds.

The Gin Kings will look to improve their PBA standing to four wins and a loss on April 5, 2024, as they take on the tough San Miguel Beermen at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

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