Mark Caguioa had a hot shooting night, Vernon Macklin sizzled with power plays around the basket and LA Tenorio helped with his clever playmaking.
Together, the three formed a combo powering Barangay Ginebra to a stirring 96-88 victory over San Mig Coffee in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup before a crowd of over 16,000 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday night.
Caguioa knocked in five treys and totaled 25 points, Macklin came through with 20 markers and 16 boards while Tenorio contributed 13 assists, 12 points, four rebounds and two steals as the Kings chalked up a second win in their last three games and improved a notch up to joint eighth at 2-5.
Stopped on their tracks, the Mixers moved down to joint sixth at 3-4.
“It’s nice to beat the champions who are a very strong team. They’re taller, bigger but the guys played with heart,” said coach Alfrancis Chua as his troops halted the Mixers’ three-game run.
The Kings beat the Mixers for the first time in their last six duels.
“Nakahuli kami ng malaking isda and I have to give it to the boys,” added Chua, making special mention of Caguioa, Chris Ellis and their import.
Ellis was another Ginebra player who finished in double figures (11 points), making up for his crucial lapse in their last game against Rain or Shine.
“Down na down si Ellis after our last game. Di ko na ni-review ang tape. Sabi ko di ko na ipapaalala kung ano nangyari in our last game,” said Chua.
The new Ginebra mentor took his hats off to Caguioa in particular for his fourth-quarter charge and to Macklin for his gung-ho attitude.
“Ayaw magpalabas (ni Macklin), laban ng laban kaya gusto siya ng mga teammates niya. Yung ganoon talaga ang masarap kasama sa laban,” said Chua.
With a remarkable 54.2-percent clip, the Kings dominated the Mixers, leading by as many as 15 points twice early in the fourth quarter.
But the Mixers refused to give up easily, and Caguioa needed to deliver the biggest plays to personally close out the game.
Caguioa secured the win for the Kings at 88-80 on back-to-back treys. (SB)