|Stanley Pringle powers through three Magnolia Hotshots defenders in the first game of the Manila Clasico quarterfinal match on a Saturday night at the Mall of Asia Arena. PBA Images|
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong
PASAY CITY - It was only Stanley Pringle's second "Manila Clasico" on Saturday night at the Mall of Asia Arena, but what better way for his second experience than to be named as the best player of the game, scoring 18 points and 4 rebounds to lead the Gin Kings to a 1-0 advantage against the Hotshots in their best-of-three quarterfinal series.
It was a game played in a way that a "Manila Clasico" should be played, much to the delight of every fan that flocked the arena to witness a big game between two giant teams of the league that has a rivalry that dates back to the start of the league itself.
Both teams were off to a good start with Paul Lee sinking a three point shot in to give the Hotshots an early 3-point advantage only to get the early equaliser coming from LA Tenorio.
Ginebra led as much as 6 points in the opening quarter but closed it with them having a 3-point advantage, 26-23.
Jio Jalalon tied the game at 26-all at the beginning of the second quarter with his shot from beyond the arc, but Greg Slaughter was quick enough to break the tie with his floating jump shot.
Scottie Thompson's foul on Lee sent him at the free throw line to score easy three points to hand over a 1-point lead for the Hotshots; 29-28.
Mark Barroca was able to extend it to 3, but Pringle was also quick to tie the ball game at 31-all with 8:33 left at the second quarter.
From then, it has been another series of lead changes and exchange of baskets from both ends of the court with Ginebra eventually leading the game at halftime, 48-44.
Lee again opened the scoring for the third quarter, scoring back to back baskets to give the Hotshots an easy 5-point score to edge out the Gin Kings by 1; 48-49.
The Gin Kings eventually lead as much as 8 points but Lee was able to cut the lead to 6 points; 66-60 to close out the third quarter.
The 4th quarter had been another surge of exchange of baskets between the two teams, with Rakeem Christmas even tying the ball game at 70-all with 9:17 to play in the final quarter.
But Ginebra took control the rest of the way.
The win gave the Gin Kings a 1-0 advantage going to the second game of the series on Tuesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum at 4:30 p.m.
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