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Monday, April 25, 2011



WHEN its locals all show up, Barangay Ginebra is one very hard team to beat.

Ronald Tubid notched his first double-double of the conference and led the Kings to a 92-85 win over Smart-Gilas Sunday and into the Finals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

Rudy Hatfield, Mark Caguioa and Willie Miller also came up big for Ginebra, enabling it to buck Nate Brumfield’s low-scoring night and wrap up the best-of-five semifinals duel, three games to one, “it’s nice to be back in the championship,” said Kings coach Jong Uichico after steering the team to its 19th finals stint in all and first since the 2009 Fiesta Conference, when it lost to sister team San Miguel Beer in seven games.

The Kings will be lined up in the best-of-seven title duel against early qualifier Talk N Text and Uichico said his players must come up with a better game than they did against the Nationals to have at least equal chances with the Tropang Texters.

“They’re strong, We’ve got to really play for 48 minutes against them. There’s no time to relax against them,” he stated. If the locals continue to show up like they did Sunday, the perennial favorites could increase the odds in their favor.

Brumfield finished with only nine points but did have seven rebounds, two assists and as many steals in 32 minutes. Uichico said Brumfield simply felt no need to go to the basket more than his 10 field tries.

“If our locals are doing well, his job is made easier,” Uichico pointed out. “But if not, he can score.”

The Nationals were relegated to third place by the loss, which was directly caused by its failure to hit the big shots after posting a 51-36 lead early in the third quarter.

Marcus Douthit had gamehighs of 25 points and 17 rebounds, but there were very few sources of the much-needed help.

Marcio Lassiter made three triples but JV Casio, who drained seven treys in a 100-88 win last Wednesday, only had one triple.

For the only time in the series, the Kings outshot the Nationals, 9-6, from beyond the arc, with Tubid accounting for six and Yancy de Ocampo adding two.

Hastening the Nationals’ downfall was the foul trouble entered into by Douthit, who picked up his fifth in the last 51 seconds of the third period and had to be benched until the 7:46 mark of the final canto.

By then, momentum was already on Ginebra’s side. Miller, who only had a point in the first three quarters, took over at the start of the fourth with 10 points and was in on every Ginebra play as it separated itself from Gilas, 83-73.

Tubid then took over, booming in the last two of his triples and giving the Kings an 88-73 spread it would use to cruise in the final 4:40 of the game.

One proof of Gilas unraveling was Aldrech Ramos tapping the ball off Mike Cortez’s missed jumper into the Ginebra guard himself, resulting in a followup that made it 85-73.

Tubid wound up with 22 points and 10 rebounds in a big bounce back from a three-point performance in Game 3.

Hatfield had 16 points and eight rebounds while Caguioa gave Ginebra a good start by firing eight of his 15 points in the first period.

The scores:

Ginebra 92 - Tubid 22, Hatfield 16, Caguioa 15, Miller 11, Brumfield 9, De Ocampo 8, Cortez 6, Wilson J. 3, Wilson W. 2, Labagala 0, Mamaril 0.

Smart Gilas 85 - Douthit 25, Lassiter 13, Baracael 13, Casio 11, Tiu 7, Barroca 7, Ramos 5, Aguilar 4, Lutz 0.

Quarters: 18-26, 36-45, 68-65, 92-85


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