Barangay Ginebra San Miguel squandered a 16-point third quarter lead before waking up on time with a nerve-wracking 85-82 victory over the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers on Game 4 Wednesday night at the jam-packed SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
It seems that Ginebra is poised to pushed this game into a blowout with an early game surge anchored by a great defense and crisp passing to generate easy points inside and out. But San Mig did not gave up easily and made an inspirational rally.
The win allowed Ginebra to level the best-of-seven series at 2-2 instead of falling into a 1-3 hole.
“At the start of the game, we did a good job on our defense. We were able to control the tempo, but when they started pressuring us, marami kaming mistakes,” said Ginebra headcoach Ato Agustin.
“The breaks went on our side that’s why we won the game,”he added.
The Gin Kings looked on pace for an easy victory after building a 70-54 insurmountable lead at the end of the third period,punctuated by a three-pointer of Jayjay Helterbrand.
The Mixers came roaring back, scoring the next 18 points of the game behind James Yap, Mark Barroca, and Justin Melton to take a 72-70 edge, relying on some good defensive stops that generated steals which resulted to easy fast break points.
The high-leaping Melton’s wide-open three-point shot in the 9:15 mark gave the Mixers their first taste of the lead since early in the second period, 72-70.
San Mig Coffee continued the onslaught, taking a 76-72 advantage. But a banked three-pointer by Emman Monfort spoiled the spirited run of San Mig and sparked an 8-4 run that gave Ginebra back the advantage, 80-78.
Ginebra still led by four points before Joe Devance, who struggled throughout the game, made a three-pointer giving the Mixers’ an, 83-82 disadvantage. LA Tenorio coolly sank two pessure-packed free throws to give the Gin Kings more breathing room with 5.4 seconds left.
San Mig Coffee had one last chance to tie the game, but Yap’s three-point attempt failed to hit the target, allowing Ginebra to tie the PLDT Home DSL Philippine Cup semifinals series at 2-all.
“Hindi nawala ang poise at compoure ng mga players. Nag-stick sila sa game plan at lahat ng veterans namin like LA, sila nagdala pati si Eman (Monfort), who did a good job,” reiterated coach Ato after the game.
Mac Baracael led Ginebra with 20 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting and his crucial baskets give Ginebra some breathing rooms eveytime San Mig tried to rallly. Baracael bounced back strong after being ejected in Game Three.
Tenorio added 16 and four assists, while Greg Slaughter contributed 11 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.
Overall, Ginebra turned the ball over 22 times in the game, 13 in the second half.
Yap led San Mig Coffee with 20 points, but old reliables Barroca (10 points) and Peter June Simon (five points) were less effective than usual. DeVance had 23 points in a losing cause for the Mixers.
“Na-contain namin nang konti, na-limit namin yung guards nila, PJ and Barroca,” said Agustin.
Game 5 is scheduled on Saturday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
GINEBRA 85 – Baracael 20, Tenorio 16, Slaughter 11, Ellis 9, Aguilar 7, Caguioa 7, Helterbrand 5, Monfort 5, Reyes 3, Mamaril 2.
SAN MIG SUPER COFFEE 82 – Yap 20, Devance 13, Barroca 10, Melton 9, Pingris 7, Sangalang 7, Mallari 6, Simon 5, Reavis 5, De Ocampo 0.
Quarters: 21-20, 46-43, 70-56, 85-82
--- Jay-R U. Bayon-on
Baracael saved Ginebra from a fourth quarter meltdown as the Kings level the series Reviewed by Phil Newsome on 2/05/2014 Rating: