Ginebra, inspired by their never-say-die spirit, eked past San Mig Coffee, forces Game 7

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Barangay Ginebra San Miguel lived up to its spirit of a never-say-die attitude by pulling a 94-91 squeaker over the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers in Game Six of their PLDT Home myDSL Philippine Cup semifinals series on Monday at the jam-packed SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The win forced a Game Seven rubbermatch in their Manila Clasico semifinals series on Wednesday for the right to face Rain or Shine in the finals.

Ginebra legend Robert Jaworski showed up at the Gin Kings’ dugout at halftime, exhorting every single player to show the team’s never-say-die spirit of old.

The Mixers, who relied to its usual run-and-gun game, controlled the first half, opening up a 50-41 spread behind their energetic second unit of diminutives Mark Barroca and Justin Melton.

But Ginebra, led by superstar Mark Caguioa and Gilas’ playmaker LA Tenorio, came roaring back, even taking a 78-77 lead.

Instead of losing grip, Gilas big man Mark Pingris took over for San Mig Coffee, repeatedly scoring inside over Ginebra’s taller defenders,while the latter continues to rally.

San Mig Coffee still led, 84-79, before the Gin Kings unleashed a 9-2 run to take an 88-86 advantage.

Peter June Simon responded with a three-point play over Greg Slaughter to give the Mixers back the upperhand with two minutes remaining.

Tenorio missed an open three-point attempt in the ensuing possession. James Yap missed his own shot from long distance on the other end, but Simon recovered possession for a putback jumper for a 91-88 lead.

The Gin Kings were in trouble in their next play, before Slaughter hit a tough jumper while drawing a foul from lanky Rafi Reavis.

Slaughter missed the bonus free throw, but Ginebra was able to recover the offensive rebound.
Barroca missed an open three-pointer in San Mig Coffee’s next play, and Yap was called for a foul on Caguioa on the rebound.

The 2012 PBA Most Valuable Player nailed both free throws for a 92-91 Ginebra lead with 16.2 seconds remaining.

Simon missed a shot to tie the game, and Slaughter nailed two more free throws for a three-point lead with two seconds left. Yap’s hail-mary shot with 2 seconds left went off.

The ex-UV Lancer’ Slaughter finished with 20 point and 11 rebounds for the Gin Kings.

Ginebra skipper Caguioa also had a splendid game with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting while Tenorio added 16. Slaughter’s frontline partner Japeth Aguilar had 13 points but was a non-factor in the endgame after riding the bench due to five fouls for much of the final quarter.

Pingris paced San Mig with 20 points.
The scores:
Ginebra 94 – Caguioa 21, Slaughter 20, Tenorio 16, Aguilar 13, Baracael 9, Helterbrand 5, Ellis 4, Reyes 4, Mamaril 2, Monfort 0, Urbiztondo 0.
San Mig 91 – Pingris 20, Simon 17, Barroca 14, Sangalang 12, Reavis 9, Yap 9, Melton 5, Devance 3, Mallari 2, De Ocampo 0.
Quarterscores: 22-24, 41-50, 73-74, 94-91

Ed Umbao

Founder of | co-Founder of

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