STRONG FINISH BY KINGS BRINGS DOWN GIANTS IN DUBAI
Nealy, Tubid star in come-from-behind win which hands Uichico All-Star
Saturday, 14 April 2007
DUBAI, UAE. -- Coach Jong Uichico had said in jest that Barangay Ginebra would bring in more heat to this tiny emirate.
True to his words, his Kings, relying on a big wind-up, beat the Purefoods TJ Giants 92-82 Friday in a Talk 'N Text-PBA Fiesta Conference first-ever sortie in this sunbathed, yet energetic emirate that is home to around 265,000 registered Filipino workers.
The Kings, with four of them turning in double-digit outputs, took three full quarters to size up the Giants, and then went to the trio of Rod Nealy, Ronald Tubid and Jec Chia for the big baskets that pushed the Giants to kingdom come and which delighted around 5,000 Filipinos – including RP's consul general in Dubai Antonio S. Curameng -- that flocked to the downtown Al Ahli Sports Club here.
Nealy, outduelled and outhustled by Purefoods' counterpart Marquin Chandler for three quarters, came away with another near triple-double output of 23 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, and was instrumental in a vicious 11-2 run where he scored three points all of Chandler – a split charity and a basket on a drive after eluding him – which put the Kings beyond reach, 90-80, with 1:18 left.
Chandler, who scored a game-high 41 points on top of 18 rebounds, virtually carrying Purefoods on his shoulders the entire game, would try to keep the Giants in the game, scoring two free throws which cut the lead to eight.
But that proved to be the Giants' last stand as Tubid, after running down precious time, forced his way amid heavy traffic and barely beat the shotclock with a basket underneath.
The Kings thus notched their seventh win in nine outings, keeping them abreast with Red Bull at the top of the ladder in the season-ending tournament, while spoiling the Giants' bid to end their first round elimination campaign with back-to-back wins.
"It's always sweet! Masaya, masayang masaya, lalo na kung nag travel ka ng libo-libong milya. Sulit na sulit ang pagod," said Uichico, visibly happy with the way his Kings pulled off the big win before an appreciative crowd of mostly Filipinos working in this energetic, fast-rising emirate in the Middle East.
"Everybody stepped up today. They (Giants) controlled the game, but we were able to pull through in the all-important fourth quarter," said Uichico, making mention of Chia, who he said played above the coaching staff's expectation.
The Dubai sortie dubbed "Battle of Champions' was made possible with the effort of Filipino Basketball Center headed by Ramon Pizzaras, whose throng of volunteers gave a warm welcome to the PBA delegation headed by PBA commissioner Noli Eala.
"The PBA is so happy to bring this game here. At sana patuloy kayong magkaroon ng magandang samahan dito sa Dubai. On behalf of the PBA family, maraming salamat sa inyong mainit na pagtanggap sa amin dito," said Eala in a short talk before the game, highlighted by a ceremonial first toss by the consul general.
The depleted Kings, who are missing six players who are either on loan to the national team, injured or on leave, actually managed to rip the game apart at 66-58 following a swift 11-0 blitz ignited by Sunday Salvacion's triple late in the third quarter, but the Giants, behind the guns of James Yap and Rey Evangelista, quickly came back to level the count at 67-all at the end of the quarter.
The win, Barangay Ginebra’s third straight and seventh in their last eight games, also assured Uichico of a coaching stint in the annual All-Star Game this coming April 29 in Baguio City.
The head coaches of the Top 2 teams through the games of April 15 will mentor the North and South All-Star squads in the coming annual spectacle to be held in the summer capital of the Philippines.
The win enabled Barangay Ginebra to be ranked No. 1 even in a two-way or three-way tie at 7-2 as a result of a superior PBA quotient, thus assuring Uichico of a second straight All-Star Game coaching stint and third overall. He will handle the North All-Stars who will be bannered by Mark Caguioa and Jay-Jay Helterbrand.
Brgy. Ginebra 92
– Nealy 23, Tubid 17, Chia 12, Salvacion 11, Seigle 8, Macapagal 7, Mamaril 7, Echavez 6, Santos 1, Holfer 0,.
– Chandler 41, J. Yap 10, Yee 8, Simon 7, R. Yap 5, Evangelista 4, Castillo 3, Artadi 2, Salvador 2, Limpot 0.
Quarterscores: 21-26, 35-39, 67-67, 92-82.
VIDEO OF RONALD TUBID's Amazing Shot
Courtesy of Miss Rubee a Brgy. Ginebra fan.