Ginebra survives Meralco to inch closer to another PBA PHL Cup finals berth

C-Stan proved to be too much for Meralco (PBA)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel needed their signature never-say-die mantra to dispose the Meralco Bolts in Game 5, 89-84, and moved a win away from another PBA Philippine Cup grand finals appearance on May 26, 2024, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Down by as much as 15 points in the crucial game, Ginebra banked on a solid second half outing to chip away their deficit and grabbed a 3-2 semifinals series lead.

It wasn’t an easy task to achieve for the Gin Kings as the Bolts were able to assert themselves midway through the second frame until the start of the third.

Noticing their advantage in the pick-and-roll, the Bolts abused that play and kept on feeding Cliff Hodge who was feasting underneath the loose Ginebra interior defense.

Aside from Hodge’s consistent performance in the shaded lane, Allein Maliksi once again shouldered a load for the Meralco offense that became one of the reasons why they were able to balloon their advantage to as much as 15 points.

However, the Gin Kings’ resiliency rose to the occasion in the final eight minutes of the game, countering every Meralco haymaker with crucial shots led by the waxing-hot Christian Standhardinger.

Down by three points with 6:59 remaining in the game, Standhardinger helped Ginebra retake the lead after scoring three straight perimeter buckets.

With only 1:26 left in the game and Ginebra clinging to a three-point cushion, 87-84, Standhardinger once again delivered for the Gin Kings and converted the cold-blooded mid-ranged shot that extended their lead to five points, 89-84.

Unfortunately for the Bolts, they failed to buy a basket in the final 1:22 of the game, giving away the crucial Game 5 win to the Gin Kings.

Standhardinger was unstoppable for Ginebra and led all scorers in the game with 34 big points built from an efficient 12/17 shooting from the field.

The superstar big man also came up big with his free throws, sinking 10 out of his 16 total attempts while also tallying 10 rebounds and five assists.

Backstopping Standhardinger during the grind out victory for the Gin Kings was Maverick Ahanmisi who supplied 13 clutch markers.

“We battled and battled. That’s what I’m most proud about our guys’ ability to battle and fight through all of that adversity and find a way to win. That’s very character-building as a team. That’s basically playoff basketball,” said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone after the come-from-behind win.


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