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TUBID MATCHES CAREER-HIGH AS GINEBRA TRIPS AIR21
But Kings’ outright semis hopes still up in the air
Sunday, 03 June 2007
The Barangay Ginebra Kings have done their job. All they can do now – at least for the next two hours or so -- is wait.
Rod Nealy had a terrific first half and finished with 35 points and 13 rebounds and Ronald Tubid matched his career-high with 30 points to power the Kings to a 121-116 victory the Air21 Express Sunday night in the final playdate of the 2007 Talk ‘N Text-PBA Fiesta Conference elimination round at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Kings finished the elimination round with a 12-6 (win-loss) record, tying the Alaska Aces at second place. The two teams will dispute the second outright semifinal berth on Wednesday should San Miguel Beer (9-8) win over Talk N Text (11-6) in the other scheduled game Sunday which was still currently being played.
A victory by TNT will force a three-way tie and eliminate the Kings from the semifinal playoff due to inferior quotient as Barangay Ginebra twice lost to Alaska and Talk ‘N Text in the elims.
"There's nothing we can do about it," said Ginebra coach Jong Uchico. "Earning an outright spot in the (quarterfinals) isn't bad anyway. But obviously, there's a bit of disappointment because we could have been there (in the semis) first if we just worked a little bit more."
After Wynne Arboleda, who had 16 points and five assists, scored on a lay-up to pull the Express to within 68-71 with still eight minutes left in the third quarter, the Kings quickly responded with a 17-12 run to stretch the lead to 88-80.
Eric Menk scored 22 points and Billy Mamaril came off the bench to add 10 for the Kings, who netted 19 points on Air 21’s 20 turnovers.
Ginebra, which won for just the second time in their last six games, appeared to be coasting comfortably home when Ronald Tubid made the count 111-91 with seven minutes remaining.
But the Express, who were seeking to nail an outright spot in the quarterfinals, refused to wilt under pressure. They rallied behind rookie Arwind Santos, Nino Canaleta, Shawn Daniels and Aris Dimaunahan and pulled within to 114-117 on a 3-pointer by Dimaunahan, a former King, with 24 seconds left.
Canaleta came off the bench and led the way for the Express with 28 points. Daniels added 22 points and Santos had 21 for Air21 which would up the elims with 10-8 mark.
In the event, San Miguel wins and tieds Air21 at 10-8, the two teams will also figure in a playoff for the third outright quarterfinal berth this Wednesday.
With Canaleta, Daniels, Santos and Mark Telan combining for 46 rebounds, Air21 outrebounded Ginebra, 58-48 – 22-10 offensively -- and gained a 29-9 edge in second chance points.
But the Express, who played minus the conference’s leading local scorer Gary David (torn ACL), struggled from the foul line, making just 24-of-40 shots compared to the Kings 30-of-40. (DBC)
Barangay Ginebra 121 – Nealy 35, Tubid 30, Menk 22, Mamaril 10, Abarrientos 6, Salvacion 5, Santos R. 5, Echavez 4, Seigle A. 4, Macapagal 0, Holper 0.
Air21 116 – Canaleta 28, Daniels 22, Santos A. 21, Arboleda 16, Telan 113, Dimaunahan 11, Se 3, Torion 2, Andaya 0.
Quarterscores: 37-27, 65-60, 97-88, 121-116.