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Ginebra loses early lead but fights back to eclipse Star


By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Just when everyone thought Ginebra will march on to the win against arch rival Star on Sunday night, the latter saw daylight after the intermission.

Good thing the Barangay clawed their way back.

Ginebra fought back in the last five minutes to stun Star, 92-87, in front of 16,126 people at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

A night after a slightly larger crowd at the Big Dome saw the De La Salle Lady Spikers ending the Ateneo Lady Eagles' 24-game winning streak in UAAP women's volleyball, the Barangay outscored the Hotshots, 13-2, in the remaining 5:04 of the match to claim the victory in the latest chapter of their own rivalry known as the "Manila Clasico".

Ginebra took a 56-48 advantage at halftime, but Star re-entered the court rejuvenated and went on a 26-10 third quarter to take the lead, 74-66, ending the said period on a 13-0 run behind a hot showing from Mark Barroca.

The Barangay slowly crept back to the game, opening the fourth on an 11-3 run to tie the game, 77-all, with 7:55 left.

But the Hotshots recovered by pouring in six straight points to take an 83-77 lead with 6:13 remaining.

Sol Mercado took two points back for Ginebra only to be canceled by Denzel Bowles' own shot.

LA Tenorio and Othyus Jeffers then teamed up to give Ginebra six straight points to tie the game anew, 85-all, with 2:57 left.

Rafi Reavis gave Star the lead one more time, 87-85, off two free throws with 1:17 remaining, but Greg Slaughter followed up a Japeth Aguilar miss to equalize anew, 87-all, with 58.9 seconds remaining.

Aguilar bounced back from the miss defensively by blocking Bowles' attempt, eventually leading to the go-ahead jumper by Tenorio with 28.8 seconds to go.

Bowles tried to recover from Aguilar' block, but he missed a potential game-tying jumper with 17.6 seconds left.

Bowles then went to defense for the bounce back by swatting Mark Caguioa's shot only for Slaughter to retrieve the loose ball and slam it back in plus a free throw after the Bowles foul for the dagger.

Jeffers had 23 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, and one steal for the Barangay, who scored their second straight win after a 0-2 start.

Barroca finished with 16 markers, two boards, two dimes, and three steals for the Hotshots, who dropped to 1-4.

Box Scores:

Ginebra 92-Jeffers 23, Aguilar 15, Slaughter 14, Tenorio 12, Caguioa 8, Ellis 8, Mercado 7, Thompson 3, Devance 2, Marcelo 0

Star 87-Barroca 16, Bowles 15, Simon 14, Pingris 13, Yap 10, Maliksi 9, Pascual 6, Reavis 2, Sangalang 2, Melton 0

Quarterscores: 29-24, 56-48, 66-74, 92-87

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno