Malonzo posts career-high to lead Ginebra past ROS

By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno

March 9, 2024, 7:05 am

MANILA – Jamie Malonzo dropped a career-high 32 points to highlight an impressive performance to lead Ginebra to a 113-107 win against Rain Or Shine to open its PBA Philippine Cup campaign at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Friday night.

Playing with his left eye still hurting from the strike thrown at him when he was involved in a restaurant brawl in Taguig, as shown in a video that went viral, Malonzo was on a mission from the get-go, dropping 15 points in the first quarter alone to lead Ginebra to a 33-26 lead.

He slowed down a bit in the second quarter but dropped 11 more points in the third quarter as his team posted a 13-point lead, 92-79, by the end of the period.

The ROS, though, still put up a fight in the end.

Down 111-99 with 1:24 to go, the club went on an 8-0 run to cut Ginebra's lead down to four, 111-107, with 16 seconds remaining.

Andrei Caracut thought he stole the ball off the inbound play, which led to a Santi Santillan layup that could have trimmed the gap further.

The referee, however, called a foul on Caracut and Maverick Ahanmisi iced the game with two free throws.

Malonzo also chipped in eight rebounds, three assists, two steals, and four blocks for the Gin Kings for an impressive two-way performance, although he committed seven turnovers, as well.

Ahanmisi and Christian Standhardinger each added 18 points, with the latter completing a double-double with 13 rebounds.

Although Ahanmisi barely missed out on a triple-double with nine rebounds and nine assists, his performance was enough to make up for the absence of Scottie Thompson, who decided to take a rest after a back injury.

Anton Asistio also fired a career-high with 21 points on five threes along with four rebounds and two assists, but it was not enough to give the Elasto Painters their first win of the conference as they slipped to 0-3.

Cade Flores also had his best game so far in the PBA to lead NorthPort to a 124-120 win against Phoenix in the first game.

Flores was almost perfect from the field, going 8-for-9 from the field for 21 points with 12 rebounds to lead the Batang Pier, who set the tone in the first quarter after racing to a 35-25 lead against the Fuel Masters.

Phoenix put up a fight in the fourth quarter and even took a 111-110 lead with 3:40 left, but after a 113-all tie, NorthPort went on an 8-3 run to seal the win.

Zav Lucero bounced back from a scoreless output against Converge and added 18 points, one rebound, four assists, two blocks, and one steal for the Batang Pier, who have now won back-to-back games after falling short against the NLEX Road Warriors in their conference opener.

Jason Perkins fired 28 points, 26 coming in the second half, seven rebounds, two assists, one block, and one steal for the Fuel Masters, who got to a rough start to the season-ending conference after making the semifinals in the Commissioner's Cup. (PNA)