Dubai: Showing no signs of being under strength the Ginebra Kings felled Purefood TJ Giants 92-82 to win the historic, first-ever Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Fiesta Conference game to be held in Dubai.
The winners were missing six key players who are either on loan to the national team, injured or on leave. But no one could tell as they produced a giant effort at the Al Ahli Sports Club to thrill close to 5,000 fans which included Philippine Consul General Antonio S. Curameng.
The win enabled Ginebra to top the ranking in a two-way or three-way tie at 7-2 with Red Bull Barako as a result of a superior PBA quotient.
Prior to Friday's game Coach Jong Uichico had said that the Kings would be too hot to handle and his team more than lived up to the hype.
Rod Nealy, Ronald Tubid and Jec Chia accounted for the big baskets and were joined by Sunday Salvacion raking up the points.
Top scorer Nealy, outduelled by his Purefoods' counterpart Marquin Chandler for three quarters of the game, finished strong with another near triple-double output of 23 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.
He was the key in a dynamic 11-2 burst where he scored three points, all of Chandler, which put the Kings beyond reach, 90-80, with 1:18 minutes left on the clock.
Chandler, who scored a game-high 41 points on top of 18 rebounds, virtually carried Purefoods on his shoulders the entire game.
The Kings notched their seventh win in nine outings, keeping them level with Red Bull at the top of the standings while denying the Giants from ending their first round elimination campaign with back-to-back wins.