Hot Q3 enough for Ginebra to hold off Meralco in PBA PH Cup semis opener

Stanley Pringle capped a brilliant game with the dagger basket for Ginebra. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--A third-quarter blast turned out to be just enough for Ginebra to hold on against comeback-minded Meralco with a 92-88 win in Game 1 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Friday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

After a tight first half, the Gin Kings erupted for 33 points right after the halftime intermission to take a 73-61 lead against the Bolts at the end of the third period.

However, Meralco mounted a comeback bid in the fourth quarter, drawing to within four, 83-79, with 2:52 left.

A three-pointer from Ralph Cu and an and-one from Christian Standhardinger gave Ginebra a 10-point cushion, 89-79, with 1:35 to go.

Chris Newsome and Chris Banchero connived in a 7-1 Bolts run to trim the lead to four once more, 90-86, with 1:01 remaining.

However, Stanley Pringle virtually iced the game for the Gin Kings with a floater with 39 seconds left that gave them a 92-86 advantage.

Pringle's dagger capped a 22-point night on 9-of-13 shooting, only missing one attempt inside the arc, with six rebounds, two assists, and one block for Ginebra.

Cu added 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting from three-point range, two rebounds, two assists, and one block.

Newsome finished with 21 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, and one steal for Meralco.

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