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PBA: Ginebra edges Magnolia to take 1-0 lead in semifinals

Ginebra’s Jamie Malonzo vs Magnolia in Game 1 of the PBA semifinals. –PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines–Barangay Ginebra held off a gritty Magnolia side that lost its import Nick Rakocevic to ejection in the third quarter and came out with an 87-84 victory to gain a headstart in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series on Wednesday at Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

The Gin Kings forced the Hotshots to miss their last three shots and commit two turnovers in the final two minutes, claiming the opening game of the best-of-five series on the day coach Tim Cone celebrated his 65th birthday.

Ginebra scraped its way out despite its advantage on manpower after Magnolia was forced to play all-Filipino when Rakocevic was tossed in the third quarter for a Flagrant Foul 1 on Christian Standhardinger.

Rakocevic was earlier given a technical for second motion after almost hitting LA Tenorio as he was protesting a foul in the second quarter.

“It can actually be more difficult. Hard to believe, but it does,” said Cone.

Jamie Malonzo, playing the semis for the first time, had 21 points, 12 rebounds and three steals as Ginebra now eyes a 2-0 advantage on Friday at the same venue.

Scottie Thompson had 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists while Christian Standhardinger added 14, including a jumper that beat the shot clock with 1:22 left which resulted in the eventual final score.

Paul Lee finished with 21 points, but missed a three-point attempt prior to Standhardinger’s shot that could have put Magnolia ahead 87-85.

Rakocevic had 10 points, eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks before getting tossed.

The scores:

GINEBRA 87 — Malonzo 21, Thompson 16, Standhardinger 14, Brownlee 11, Pringle 8, Tenorio 6, J.Aguilar 6, Gray 3, Mariano 2.

MAGNOLIA 84 — Lee 21, Dionisio 12, Sangalang 10, Abueva 10, Dela Rosa 7, Jalalon 6, Barroca 4, Corpuz 4, Mendoza 0, Reavis 0, Wong 0, Laput 0.

Quarters: 24-22, 45-44, 70-67, 87-84.

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