PBA:  GINEBRA  ZEROES  IN  ON  EARLY  SEMIS  ENTRY

MANILA, JUNE 5, 2007
(MALAYA) RONALD Tubid scored 30 points and pulled down 12 rebounds and import Rod Nealy tallied 35 points as Ginebra held off Air21 121-116 last night in the Talk ‘N Text PBA Fiesta Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

Tubid’s a career high-matching output enabled the Kings to go up by as many as 22 and were still comfortably ahead by 115-95 midway in the final period that went a long way in them coming up with the much-needed win.

The Kings wound up with a 12-6 win-loss record after the 18-game eliminations, giving them a tie for second spot with Alaska.

Ginebra could even gain a playoff for the second outright semifinals berth, depending on the outcome of the second game pitting Talk N Text and San Miguel being played as of press time.

A win by the Phone Pals will drop the Kings out from the playoff picture, relegating Ginebra to the quarterfinals series against the team that will top the wild card phase.

However, a victory by the Beermen will set them up for a knockout game against the Aces for the right to join defending champion Red Bull as outright semifinalist.

The Express suffered their eighth loss as against 10 wins. Unlike the Kings who were hoping for a San Miguel win, the Express were rooting for a triumph by Talk N Text which will give them an outright quaterfinals berth.

Otherwise, Air21 will have to battle San Miguel for the second outright quarterfinals slot in another knockout game.

Although Ginebra coach Jong Uichico was praying for a playoff, he wouldn’t mind landing in the quarterfinals.

"Kung quarterfinals lang ang maabot namin, we won’t be disappointed," he said.

"Remember, wala ang mga superstars namin and we had a bad start."

The game looked well on its way to being a rout when the Kings took a 115-95 lead. But the Express uncorked a blistering 19-2 run to come to within 114-117 with 24 seconds left.

It was Aries Dimaunahan who shoved Air21 that closest with a triple. However, the Express were slapped with a technical foul after Arwind Santos tapped the ball after the basket for a delay of game.

The Kings canned the free throw and then converted their last three on the charity line to dash the hopes of the Express.

The scores:

Ginebra 121 – Nealy 35, Tubid 30, Menk 22, Mamaril 10, Abarrientos 6, Salvacion 5, Santos 5, Echavez 4, Seigle 4, Macapagal 0, Holper 0.

Air21 116 – Canaleta 28, Daniels 22, Santos 21, Arboleda 16, Telan 13, Dimaunahan 11, Se 3, Torion 2, Andaya.

Quarterscores: 37-27; 65-60; 97-88; 121-116.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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