Aljon Mariano had an off-night in Game 1.
But Mariano’s good showing in Game 2 helped push the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Gin Kings to their second straight win.
“Coming into the game, masama ang nilaro ko nung weekend. I needed to be aggressive on both ends of the floor. So iyun, nag-focus lang ako. Lumabas na lang laro ko,” said the 28-year-old Mariano.
The 6’3” Mariano tallied a career-high 20 points and nine rebounds, backing up Stanley Pringle’s game-high 34 points for the Gin Kings when they pulled off a 92-90 win over TNT Tropang Giga.
This allowed the Gin Kings to take a 2-0 lead in the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup finals series at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena and Cultural Center.
This was better than what Mariano produced when he only had six points and eight rebounds in Game 1 when the Gin Kings prevailed in overtime, 100-94.
The Ginebra were struggling, nd were behind by two at the start of the fourth quarter, 68-70.
But, Mariano’s layup at the start of the period, tied the count, 70-all, and allowed Ginebra to stay in range.
Mariano’s timely baskets for the rest of the game, including two charities in the last 8:24, allowed Ginebra to stay in control, 79-84.
Eventually, triples from Stanley Pringle and Scottie Thompson during an 8-2 run in the last 30 seconds pushed the Gin Kings ahead, 92-87.
“When they started to stretch the lead out, we didn’t panic. We weren’t forcing things. We were still taking our time, trying to methodically work back in the game,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
Roger Pogoy struck with 38 points, including five 3-pointers for the Tropang Giga.
Ray Parks was in uniform, but he did not see action due to a left calf strain.