By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings are one win away from bagging the PBA Philippine Cup title after they took a 3-1 lead over the TNT Tropang Giga in their best-of-seven finals series with a 98-88 victory in Game Four on Sunday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena in Pampanga.
Steady in their attack on both on ends throughout the match, the Kings proved to be hard to crack for the hurting Tropang Giga once they had it going on their way to booking the win that now has them on the brink of a first Philippine Basketball Association All-Filipino title in more than a decade.
The contest had a defensive start, with the first quarter ending with Barangay Ginebra just up by three points, 17-14.
Offense picked up in the second frame and the teams went back-and-forth.
Barangay Ginebra held a 39-36 advantage at the 2:46 mark before it went on a 10-3 blast the rest of the way to extend its lead to double digits, 49-39, at halftime.
The Kings continued to pour it on to begin the third quarter, outscoring the Tropang Giga, 7-0, in the first two minutes to create further separation, 56-39.
TNT tried to claw their way back but Barangay Ginebra stood its ground, still in command, 65-48, at the halfway point of the frame.
The Kings continued to have a safe distance, 77-60, entering the fourth canto.
Seeing that the game was slipping from their grip, the Tropang Giga came out charging to begin the fourth, scoring two quick baskets, care of Poy Erram and Simon Enciso, to narrow the gap, 77-64, inside a minute.
They kept their push in the succeeding minutes to come even closer, 88-85, at the 2:50 mark.
But like what they had been doing all game long, the Kings would extricate themselves from the Tropang Giga.
LA Tenorio produced clutch treys to keep the Kings above water, 94-88, with 1:43 to go.
They added four more points to it after a minute to make it a 10-point cushion, 98-88.
No TNT comeback would happen from there, preserving the win for the Kings.
Mr. Tenorio shone for Barangay Ginebra with 22 points, six rebounds and three steals.
Japeth Aguilar also had 22 points, to go along with nine boards and two blocks.
Stanley Pringle had 16 points while Scottie Thompson finished with a near triple-double of 11 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
For TNT it was Roger Pogoy who led with a game-high 34 points, followed by Poy Erram with 19 points on top of 16 rebounds and two blocks.
The Tropang Giga played without Ray Parks Jr. for the third straight game while they lost veteran Jayson Castro in the third quarter of Game Four because of injury.
Barangay Ginebra can close out the series on Wednesday in Game Five at 6 p.m.