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Meralco Keeps Playoff Aspirations Alive: Stuns Gin Kings

Scottie Thompson and Greg Slaughter guarding Jason Ballesteros
(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)


Jason Ballesteros grabs 17 BIG REBOUNDS against the giants of Ginebra.

Heading into yesterday's game, the Meralco Bolts had the slimmest chances of snatching a playoff spot as they had been dwelling near the bottom of the standings throughout the entire PBA Philippine Cup. And the fact that they were playing against the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings- a team who beat the Bolts in the last two Finals of the Governors' Cup, the odds were clearly stacked against the Bolts.

With the Gin Kings up by the slimmest margin with 36 seconds to go, Jason Ballesteros grabbed one of his 17 rebounds and scored on a lay-up and then, added a free throw, later on, to help the Meralco Bolts survive this one against Ginebra, 84-82.  This made life a bit miserable for Ginebra as they failed to seal their spot in the playoffs while their win also enabled Meralco to at least, keep their chances of snatching a spot in the playoffs alive as they are now in the 9th place in the standings with a 4-6 record.

To begin with, this is just one of those games that should have been won by Ginebra and yet, they surprisingly lost? What happened? Below are the numbers:


Meralco just shot better

One of the few things that Meralco did this time around was to shoot at a higher percentage against the Gin Kings. Overall, they made 42% of their field goal attempts, 45% from the 2-point area and 35% from the three-point line. On the other hand, Ginebra only shot 38% from the field including 42% from the 2-point territory and a horrible 20% shooting display from downtown. The only place where Ginebra beat the Bolts was from the free throw line where Ginebra went 21 for 30 while Meralco went 9 for 16. But given how close the final score was, those 9 misses from the free throw line were also one of the reasons why Ginebra lost the game. 


A Monstrous Rebounding Night for Ballesteros

Owing to the fact that they have Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter on board, the Gin Kings should have dominated the rebounding battle against the undersized Bolts and they actually did as Ginebra held a 55-47 edge in the rebounds. However, it didn't matter especially for Jason Ballesteros who grabbed that crucial offensive rebound, one of his 17 rebounds in the game- 6 came from the offensive end. That's 17 rebounds, folks, and that's 2 more than the combined number of rebounds of Aguilar and Slaughter at 15.

Also Read: Manila Classico No More: Meralco is Ginebra's New Rival


Conclusion

Fortunately for the Gin Kings, they can seal their spot in the quarterfinals assuming that they win their final game of the elimination rounds against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. However, the Bolts will face the Magnolia  Hotshots and that's a big problem for Meralco because they will be playing against a top-2 team. But then again, the Bolts beat the giant Gin Kings. But, they will be needing more than just Jason Ballesteros' Dennis Rodman-style of rebounding. 

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