By JEREMIAH SEVILLA
Christian Standhardinger nailed the buzzer-beating basket against his former team as Barangay Ginebra came from behind to beat NorthPort, 87-85, in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup on Friday night, July 30 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
After Japeth Aguilar’s huge block on Jamie Malonzo with seven seconds left and the game tied at 85-all,Standhardinger ran down the court and caught Stanley Pringle’s missed layup before banking in an off-balanced short stab as time expired.
That completed the mighty comeback of the Kings, who went down by 13 points early and only got a taste of the lead in the fourth quarter.
Meantime, the game between Phoenix and Blackwater set on Saturday, July 31 was postpined due to health and safety reasons.
“The PBA game between Blackwater Bossing and Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, scheduled July 31, 2021, Saturday at 2 p.m., will be postponed to a later date in accordance with the league’s health and safety protocols,” the league said in an advisory posted on Friday night.
The defending Philippine Cup champions bounced back from an 89-79 loss to the Magnolia Hotshots in the Manila Clasico last Sunday and improved to an even 2-2.
“We’re just trying to find ways to win and we were lucky we found a way to win tonight,” said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone.
Pringle fired a game-high 24 points but it was reigning Finals MVP LA Tenorio who sparked the Kings’ fightback down the crucial stretch as the veteran playmaker finished with 20 markers, seven assists and five rebounds.
Japeth Aguilar chipped in 15 points and eight boards while Standhardinger came up with a 13-point, 12-rebound double-double but none bigger than his game-winner that proved Ginebra right in swapping Greg Slaughter for him earlier this year.
Tenorio took matters into his own hands in crunch time, drilling in big baskets and dishing out timely dimes to give Ginebra an 85-78 lead with 2:04 remaining.
But Slaughter, Robert Bolick and Sean Anthony connived to ignite a seven-point swing to forge an 85-85 deadlock with 31.4 ticks left.
The Batang Pier forced Pringle to commit a turnover and Malonzo looked headed for a slam but Aguilar went for a chasedown block, setting the stage for Standhardinger’s heroics.
Bolick had 23 points while Slaughter, who played his first game against Ginebra after a six-season stint with the fan favorite, had a double-double of 16 markers and 14 rebounds.
Meanwhile, TNT picked up where it left off, taking down Rain or Shine, 79-69, for its second win.
The Tropang Giga showed no signs of rust despite coming off a 13-day layoff due to COVID-19 scare as they dictated the tempo starting in the second quarter.
TNT underwent isolation after four of its players either tested positive of the coronavirus or needed a retest for confirmation.
TNT 79 – Rosario 13, Pogoy 13, Khobuntin 10, Castro 9, M. Williams 7, Heruela 6, Alejandro 6, K. Williams 6, Montalbo 5, Erram 4, Marcelo 0
ROS 69 – Mocon 22, Borboran 12, Johnson 7, Caracut 6, Norwood 6, Torres 5, Ponferada 5, Nambatac 4, Wong 2, Belga 0, Santillan 0.
Quarters: 22-19, 43-33, 64-52,79-69
GINEBRA 87 – Pringle 24, Tenorio 20, J.Aguilar 15, Standhardinger 13, Dillinger 5, Thompson 5, Caperal 5, Chan 0, Enriquez 0, Tolentino 0, Ayaay 0
NORTHPORT 85 – Bolick 23, Slaughter 16, Balanza 14, Anthony 11, Malonzo 9, Onwubere 8, Grey 2, Rike 2, Doliguez 0, Elorde 0
Quarters : 16-22, 42-51, 61-63, 87-85.