by Waylon Galvez
A 16-point third quarter lead almost wasn’t enough to save the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings from themselves.
Scoreless in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, the Kings dumped a 70-54 advantage to the gutter in a maze of errors but hung on, 85-82, as the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers failed to complete what they started last night, leveling at 2-2 the PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Game 5 is Saturday, 3:30 p.m., also at the Big Dome.
LA Tenorio, who committed four grievous passing errors at the height of San Mig’s comeback, redeemed himself by hitting three free throws in the last 1:11 to deny the Mixers, who got off a game-tying three-point shot by James Yap that spun out of the rim at the buzzer.
San Mig seized control, 76-72, behind a roaring 20-2 run to start the final 12 minutes, throwing Ginebra in disarray. But Emman Monfort came off the bench to hit a 3-pointer off the glass and Mac Baracael, ejected in Game 3, sank two foul shots to restore the lead to the Kings.
The Mixers tied the game once but never got back the upper hand, with Baracael stealing a Marc Pingris pass to Yap that set up Tenorio’s game-saving free throws.
“Di nawala ang poise at focus,” said Ginebra coach Ato Agustin.
Ginebra had the halftime lead, but San Mig had the last say.
Mixers coach Tim Cone called time with 2.0 seconds and drew a play that saw Joe Devance swishing in a running jumper in front of the Kings bench to cut a 5-point deficit.
Marc Pingris picked up his third foul barely seven minutes into the game and sat out the entire second quarter where the Mixers lost an early lead behind an 11-0 Ginebra run keyed by LA Tenorio.
Chris Ellis and Greg Slaughter each had 9 points in the first half as the Kings, who quickly abandoned a Triple Tower setup with Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar and Jayr Reyes after San Mig set up an impregnable zone to take a 16-9 lead on back-to-back triples by James Yap and PJ Simon against the Kings’ porous D.
Yap, like Pingris, was saddled early with three fouls and couldn’t get much going on 3-of-8 shooting.
GINEBRA 85 – Baracael 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