SMART Clark Giga City - The Barangay Ginebra Kings played up to expectation as the playoffs top seed, their mean machine humming all throughout in a - rout of the Meralco Bolts at the start of their PBA Philippine Cup best-of-five semifinals at the AUF Sports Arena Powered by Smart 5G.
The Kings sustained their romp from the elims, seizing control in the second quarter and roaring on for the 1-0 upper hand in the short race-to-three-games series.
Coach Tim Cone and his fired-up chargers try to move on the doorstep of the best-of-seven finals in Game Two at 3:45 p.m. Friday.
Cohesive and sharp in their half court game, the Kings tore to shreds the Meralco side which was a shadow of the Bolts team that dethroned titlist San Miguel Beer in the quarterfinals.
The Ginebra mentor acknowledged and lauded his players for playing a "superb team game."
Stanley Pringle, LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson, Arvin Tolentino and Japeth Aguilar provided the team a solid start and Aljon Mariano and Prince Caperal were among guys who put up sterling efforts from the bench as the Kings kept their mastery of the coach Norman Black and his chargers.
But Cone said it's just one game where they took advantage of being well-rested ranged against a team with a fatigue issue.
"We're able to rest and obviously, it's an advantage for us," said Cone.
Pringle committed two quick fouls but preserved himself and went on to lead the Kings with 19 points on top of seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Thompson and Tolentino fired 13 apiece, with the former also coming through with nine rebounds and eight assists in a wondrous all-around game and the latter highlighting his own superb job with 3-of-6 three-pointers.
Tenorio, Mariano and Caperal were three other Ginebra players finishing in double figures with 11, 11 and 10.
The Kings also enjoyed a lift on their defensive job that saw them hold Meralco starters Baser Amer and Bong Quinto to just two points apiece.
Thompson and Pringle scored 11 each as the Kings took the half, 48-36, while not yielding a single point from turnovers and off the defensive board.
So efficient were the Kings that they limited themselves to three errors and gave away just five offensive rebounds in the first 24 minutes of play.
And as they saw some openings, the Kings pounced on it to open up a 12-point lead in the second period. It's the start of the massacre.
In the second half, almost everything went Ginebra's way. (SB)
BARANGAY GINEBRA 96 - Pringle 19, Thompson 13, Tolentino 13, Mariano 11, Caperal 10, Aguilar 9, Tenorio 4, Dillinger 4, Devance 2, Balanza 2, Dela Cruz 2, Chan 0, R. Aguilar 0.
MERALCO 79 - Maliksi 24, Newsome 13, Hugnatan 9, Black 8, Hodge 4, Jamito 4, Almazan 3, Quinto 2, Amer 2, Faundo 2, Salva 2, Caram 0, Jackson 0.
Quarters: 21-17; 48-36; 71-54; 96-79.