Barangay Ginebra jumped out of the starting gate and sustained a searing pace on a massive offense, hacking out a 102-96 win over San Miguel Beer in the opener of the Motolite PBA Fiesta Conference finale at the Araneta Coliseum Wednesday night.
The Kings converted 40 percent of their shots from the three-point area and outperformed the Beermen on the offensive board to fuel a torrid assault leading to their stirring victory at the start of the race-to-four-game series.
"Naka-swerte. We shot pretty well at the start then our defense worked in the second half. Naka-sagot kami sa opensa ng San Miguel when they started to get streaks," said San Miguel coach Jong Uichico.
"We like that situation na maka-una. Baka hindi kami nakasabay kung sila ang naka start ng malakas," Uichico added.
"We're not mentally prepared to play this game. It's not an excuse. Lahat lang talaga, from the coaches to the players, not prepared mentally," rued San Miguel coach Siot Tanquingcen.
"We let them convert 40 percent from the three-point area and get the offensive rebounds when they missed their shots. Our defense shouldn't stop in having them missed their shots. We should only stop when we already get the ball," Tanquingcen added.
Ginebra came out smoking, led by as many as 18 points and fended off a San Miguel rally at the finish with top gun Jayjay Helterbrand and five other Kings playing key roles.
Helterbrand and Paul Artadi got the team to a big start then Sunday Salvacion, Cyrus Baguio and David Noel took over to sustain the pace before Ronald Tubid had his key contributions helping hold off the SMB chase.
"We're still in the drawing board. It so happened that what we talked about and what we planned works in this game," said Uichico.
"We like this situation, winning Game One. But a first game is just a first game. It takes four games to win and we know the talent of San Miguel. They can be so overpowering that we really need to exert extra effort," Uichico added.
Helterbrand led all scorers with 21 points and added seven assists and six rebounds in a sterling performance in 38 minutes of action.
Baguio, Tubid, Artadi and Noel also scored in double figures for the Kings who surprisingly dominated the favored Beermen, leading by as big as 18 at 81-63.
The Beermen came threateningly close in the homestretch but the Kings stayed intact, holding SMB at bay on clutch shots by Tubid at the finish. Tubid fired seven of his 14 points in the last 32 seconds.
The Kings took an early double-digit spread at 19-9 and led by 17 at 53-36 before settling for a 53-41 spread at the half.
Helterbrand and Artadi started strong with the former going 4-of-7 from the three-point area and totaling 19 points in the first half and the latter knocking in three triples and a total of 11 points in the first five minutes of the contest.
With Gabe Freeman and Jay Washington hitting their strides, the Beermen came within two at 24-26 only to see the Kings make another decisive attack to rip the game apart at 53-36 with 1:54 left in the second quarter.
Helterbrand converted three of four three-point tries in the second period, the last capping the big blast that gave them the 17-point margin.
The Beermen made it a more manageable deficit as they scored seven unanswered points the rest of the first half. (NC)
Ginebra 102 -- Helterbrand 21, Baguio 17, Tubid 14, Artadi 13, Noel 13, Salvacion 9, Lanete 5, Mamaril 4, Intal 2, Menk 2, Reavis 2.
San Miguel 96 -- Washington 19, Villanueva 18, Freeman 16, Cortez 12, Hontivoeros 11, Racela 7, Ilderfopnso 4, Pena 4, Pennisi 3, Pingris 2.
Quarterscores: 26-22, 53-41, 81-65, 102-96