LA Tenorio sank two crucial free-throws in the last 5.4 seconds even as James Yap rattled out a potential game-tying three pointer at the buzzer as Barangay Ginebra San Miguel held off San Mig Coffee, 85-82 yesterday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mac Barracael came to rescue and Ginebra’s bench mob provided the lift to help the Kings survived the Mixers’ ferocious fourth quarter surge after Tim Cone’s technical foul late in the third to even the series to two games apiece in their PLDT MyDSL Philippine Cup semifinals showdown.
Trailing by 16, the mixers unleashed a blitzing 18-0 run early in the payoff period to take the upper hand, 72-70 on a booming triple by Justin Melton, who gone berserk in the span of San Mig’s fight back.
Greg Slaughter then stopped the bleeding for Ginebra with a jump-hook to tie the count but the Mixers ignited another 5-0 run capped by a Marc Barroca long jumper to seize a five-point cushion, 77-72 with 5.02 remaining.
But the Kings quickly regained the lead after Eman Montfort banged in a three and Barracael completed a three-point play.
An exchange of baskets by Barroca and Tenorio plus Yap’s split free-throw left Ginebra holding a precarious one-point advantage, 80-79 with 1:36 left.
Japeth Aguilar, who struggled in the game made a timely lay up and Tenorio knocked down a free-throw to give the Kings a three-point buffer with 1:11 remaining in the game.
Joe Devance kept San Mig hopes alive with a last-ditch trey in the last 20.1 seconds in the clock but a late issued foul to Ginebra allowed Tenorio to bail out the Kings.
Best player Barracael pumped in 20 points while Tenorio and Montfort combined for 22 points to help Kings held on the game which became nail-biting as pesky duo of Melton and Barroca almost stolen the game anew.
Slaughter scored 11 points while Chris Ellis and Eman Montfort chipped in nine and five markers respectively off the bench for the crowd favorite team, which turned the series to a virtual best of three affair.
Yap finished with 20 points, most coming in the Mixers’ furious rally while Barroca and Melton contributed 10 and nine points respectively and tons of energy from the bench for San Mig.
Ginebra (85)– Barracael 20, Tenorio 16, Slaughter 11, Ellis 9, Aguilar 7, Caguioa 7, Helterbrand 5, Monfort 5, Reyes 3, Mamaril 2.
San Mig (82) – Yap 20, Devance 13, Barroca 10, Melton 9, Pingris 7, Sangalang 7, Mallari 6, Simon 5, Reavis 5, De Ocampo 0.
Quarterscores: 21-20, 46-43, 70-56, 85-82