Barangay Ginebra San Miguel as expected displayed its never-say-die attitude anew as the Kings nipped San Mig Coffee Mixers, 94-91 to level the series and force a winner-take-all game 7 in their Manila Cl(–foul word(s) removed–)ico semifinals showdown yesterday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
photo credit: gmanetwork.com (KC CRUZ)
With the living legend Robert Jaworski showed up in the dugout at the half to give them enough motivation, the Kings came out with more intensity and will to win in the last two quarters to overcome the gritty Mixers, who are leading by as much as nine after the first half.
“Malaking bagay si Jawo, it inspired the players,” said Ginebra coach Ato Agustin. (Statement from interAksyon.com)
The inspired Ginebra banked on veteran Mark Caguioa and the LA Tenorio, who bounced back from a forgettable game 5 showing, and their rookie big man Greg Slaughter to power the team to a huge charge back down the stretch.
After Ginebra mounted a comeback, taking a one-point lead, PJ Simon completed a three-point play for the Mixers to regain the upper hand at 89-88 with exactly two minutes to play.
Tenorio misfired a big three-point try allowing Simon to score another a tear drop off James Yap miss that even padded San Mig’s advantage to three.
But Slaughter, who rose in the occasion at the end game made a tough shot over Rafi Reavis to inch the deficit to 90-91 with 46 seconds left in the clock.
Caguioa then earned two free throws, which he coolly sank in after he was fouled in the rebound play by Yap to give Ginebra a slim, 92-91 lead with 16.2 seconds remaining.
The mixers had a chance to win the game but Simon missed an attempt. Slaughter got the rebound and was sent to the foul line by San Mig but the rookie big man steadily nailed his charities for the final count.
Slaughter recorded a double-double with 20 points and 11 boards while Caguioa scored a game-high 21 points and Tenorio added 16 markers for Ginebra, who will have to survive another do-or-die game on Wednesday.
“Game Seven, nakita namin ang formula. We need to pressure, we need to be aggressive. Kailangan na namin ibigay lahat,” said Agustin.
“Don’t save your energy, pag pagod kayo papalitan namin kayo. Trust each other, teamwork.” He added. (Statements from interAksyon.com)
Mark Pingris paced the Mixers with 20 points, most coming in the stretch where he led San Mig to fend off the Kings 9-4 uprising seize the lead at 78-77 early in the fourth.
Simon and Barroca also contributed 17 and 14 markers for the Mixers.
Ginebra (94) – Caguioa 21, Slaughter 20, Tenorio 16, Aguilar 13, Barracael 9, Helterbrand 5, Ellis 4, Reyes 4, Mamaril 2, Montfort 0, Urbiztondo 0.
San Mig (91) – Pingris 20, Simon 17, Barroca 14, Sanggalang 12, Reavis 9, Yap 9, Melton 5, Devance 3, Mallari 2, De Ocampo 0.
Quarterscores: 22-24, 41-50, 73-74, 94-91