by Jonas Terrado
Game Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Alaska vs San Miguel
(San Miguel leads series 1-0)
Jeff Chan scored 21 points for his best game since being traded last month as Barangay Ginebra San Miguel clobbered Rain or Shine, 102-89, to draw first blood in their best-of-five PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The former national player frustrated his former team by knocking down two of his three triples in the fourth quarter that helped Ginebra pull away after taking a 76-70 lead after three quarters.
Chan shot 6-of-10 from the field to complete his most productive game after joining the league’s most popular ballclub from Phoenix in a trade last June 18. He entered the game after averaging less than six points per contest for Ginebra.
“Jeff is really a great weapon when he’s got good players around him,” said coach Tim Cone. “It was the difference with our offense with him and our offense without him. That makes us a tougher team.”
Justin Brownlee scored 16 of his 35 points in the first quarter that set the tone for Ginebra’s eighth straight victory after starting the midseason conference with a 1-5 record.
Ginebra weathered almost losing an 18-point first half lead but also the loss of Japeth Aguilar, who hurt his Achilles tendon in the quarterfinal sweep of Meralco at midweek.
Cone said Aguilar remains 50-50 ahead of Tuesday’s Game 2 when Ginebra tries to go for a commanding 2-0 lead at the Big Dome.
Aguilar’s absence made it tougher for Greg Slaughter and the Ginebra frontline to contain Rain or Shine’s 290-lb import Reggie Johnson, who finished with 30 points and 13 rebounds.
Despite Johnson powering his way in the post, Rain or Shine could get as close as four in the third quarter twice, the first on James Yap’s four-point play that trim the deficit to 69-65.
Slaughter had 20 points and six rebounds and Joe Devance scored 12 for the Kings.
Yap produced 15 points and eight rebounds while Ed Daquioag was the third Elasto Painter in double figures with 10.
GINEBRA 102 – Brownlee 35, Chan 21, Slaughter 20, Devance 12, Tenorio 5, Thompson 4, Mercado 3, Aguilar 2, Caperal 0, Mariano 0, Manuel 0, Ferrer 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 89 – Johnson 30, Yap 15, Daquioag 10, Tiu 7, Washington 6, Ponferada 6, Ahanmisi 6, Belga 4, Nambatac 3, Norwood 2, Almazan 0, Borboran 0.
Quarters: 31-17; 52-45; 76-70; 102-89.