MANILA, JUNE 4, 2007
(STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Rod Nealy and Ronald Tubid each came through with a 30-point game, powering Barangay Ginebra to a 121-116 win over Air21 to keep the Kings in the running for an outright semifinals entry in the Talk n Text PBA Fiesta Cup at the Araneta Coliseum last night.

Nealy led all scorers with 35 points while Tubid matched his career-high 30 points as the Kings closed out their elimination round stint at 12-6.

However, the Kings still had to wait for the result of the San Miguel-Talk n Text match, being played at presstime, to determine whether or not they would gain a shot at the second semis berth.

A San Miguel victory would give Ginebra a playoff crack for the second semis seat against Alaska. A Talk n Text win, on the other hand, would relegate Ginebra to an automatic entry into the quarterfinals.

“It’s sad we had a chance to get to the semis early but we didn’t get it. Now we have to wait for help from another team,” said Ginebra coach Jong Uichico.

“Before the start of the tourney, our mental framework was to go as far as we can get to. If we settle for the quarters, it’s good enough. We just have to prepare ourselves for the quarters grind,” Uichico added.

A loss to the Beermen the last time out stymied the Kings’ bid for an outright semis slot.

But the Kings still came back with great resolve, building leads of as many as 16 points against an Air21 squad slowed down by the absence of Gary David due to an ACL tear.

Four Air21 key players in Niño Cañaleta, Shawn Daniels, Arwind Santos and Mark Telan dished out double-double games but those proved not enough to save the Express from absorbing their sixth loss in their last seven games.

Bungling a crack at an automatic No. 5 finish in the elims, the Express may face the Beermen in a playoff for that spot.

Eric Menk also had a solid game for the Kings with 22 points, two rebounds and one assist while Billy Mamaril added 10 points, two rebounds and two assists.

Cañaleta paced the Express with 28 points and 10 rebounds.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved