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Globalport’s Mark Yee and Rain or Shine’s Jeff Chan battle for the looseball during their PBA game last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Batang Pier won, 90-88. (Tony Pionilla)

by Tito Talao

Games Wednesday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
5:45 p.m. – Petron vs Air21
8 p.m. – San Mig vs Meralco

Manila, Philippines – On any given Sunday, something as totally unexpected as last night can happen.

A coach isn’t supposed to design a three-point play with the game on the line and his team needing only two points to win. And a player, especially a 6-foot-10 forward, isn’t supposed to let fly from that distance when the opposing ballclub is in penalty.

Well, Ato Agustin, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel coach, didn’t ask for an ambitious triple, drawing a safer pick-and-roll play instead for Japeth Aguilar with 22.9 seconds and the Kings trailing, 95-94.

But Aguilar, who had a 3-pointer earlier, took one anyway from just outside left of the arc – and made it – with 1.1. seconds left, igniting pandemonium inside the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

And when he rushed over and swatted away a baseline jumper by Ranidel de Ocampo at the buzzer to complete a riveting comeback by the Kings (4-1) from 12 points down in the fourth quarter, 97-95, in the PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup, the bedlam that followed, it seemed, would never stop.

Aguilar paced Ginebra with 21 points, 11 in the fourth quarter, 12 rebounds, and a career-tying 7 blocks. Jayson Castro led TNT (3-2) with 27 and Larry Fonacier added 23. Both combined for 6 points in the last 12 minutes however.

“Swerte lang talaga yung play na yon,” said Agustin. “Pick and roll dapat yon for Japeth e.”

There was no element of luck involved, however, when Agustin plucked Mac Baracael and Eman Monfort from deep in the Kings bench and placed Ginebra’s fate in their hands.

Baracael responded sensationally, burying three 3-pointers, while Monfort took over from LA Tenorio, orchestrating play and helping hold Jimmy Alapag to 0 of 8 in 3-point shots.

Meanwhile, Globalport denied Rain or Shine’s Paul Lee a game-winning 3-point shot in picking up its first back-to-back win, 90-88, slaying the ghost of last season’s Governors’ Cup quarterfinal loss to the Painters.

The scores:
First game:
Globalport 90 – Washington 20, Mercado 20, Garcia 13, Chua 12, Nabong 8, Yee 5, Lingganay 5, Hayes 4, Salvador 2, Romeo 1, Menk 0, Belencion 0.

Rain or Shine 88 – Lee 20, Quinahan 14, Norwood 11, Belga 10, Cruz 9, Chan 8, Arana 7, Teng 4, Nuyles 3, Tiu 2, Almazan 0, Ibanes 0, Rodriguez 0.

Quarters: 18-22, 36-35, 70-60, 90-88

Second game:
Ginebra 97 – Aguilar 21, Ellis 17, Slaughter 16, Baracael 12, Ababou 7, Helterbrand 7, Reyes 6, Urbiztondo 6, Caguioa 3, Tenorio 2, Monfort 0.

Talk ‘n Text 95 – Castro 27, Fonacier 23, Anthony 12, De Ocampo 8, Williams 8, Alapag 7, Seigle 5, Baclao 4, Carey 1, Ferriols 0, Poligrates 0.

Quarters: 19-25, 40-43, 68-80, 97-95