Barako Bull pulled off a shocker in the PBA Halloween presentation at Mall of Asia Arena Saturday night, coming from the depths of a 21-point deficit to stun Barangay Ginebra and its diehards.
The Energy Cola upended the Gin Kings, 82-79, in the biggest upset in Smart Bro Philippine Cup thus far, negating a monster game by Greg Slaughter and keeping Ginebra winless in two games under coach Tim Cone.
“All the teams are really pumped up when they face a team like Ginebra. Credit to our players, they prepared themselves emotionally and psychologically for this game,” said Barako Bull coach Koy Banal.
“It all started on defense. Gumanda lahat noong pinatibay namin ang depensa namin,” Banal added.
After surrendering 35 big points and falling behind by 21 in the first 13 minutes of the contest, the Energy clamped down on defense and in the process got into the game then eventually stole it in the end.
Barako Bull bounced back from an 85-93 loss to NLEX Wednesday while dealing Ginebra another disappointing loss following a losing season debut against the Star Hotshots.
A team composed mostly of former Ginebra players, Barako charged to within seven at the half (36-43), pulled even at the end of the third (57-57) and seized control at 80-73 inside the last two minutes.
Waging their own fightback, the Kings got one crack at sending the game into overtime but Mark Caguioa threw the ball away on the double-teaming defense of JC Intal and RR Garcia.
Intal took a steal at the buzzer, capping a 22-point game also spiked by five rebounds and two assists.
“His stint with Gilas gave him extra confidence in his game,” said Banal of his top gun.
Gutsy stands of Intal, Garcia, Chico Lanete, Mick Pennisi, Willy Wilson, Mac Baracael and Eman Monfort made wonders. Curiously, all these players except Garcia used to don the Ginebra uniform.
Garcia rifled in 16 points, including a trey, a layup off Mark Caguioa and four free throws in the last four minutes of play.
Barako Bull was down by five at 68-73 before turning the game around completely on a key run worked on by Pennisi, Garcia and Intal.
The Energy surged ahead to stay at 74-73 on back-to-back three-pointers by Pennisi and Garcia.
Going down the drain was Slaughter’s explosive game with 27 points and 26 rebounds.
Japeth Aguilar, the other half of the Ginebra Twin Towers, struggled for only six points and five rebounds before fouling out with over five minutes left to play.