by Tito S. Talao
Game Tomorrow (Smart Araneta)
8 p.m. – San Mig vs Ginebra
James Yap has completed an unfinished deadly business from Game 4. Now San Mig Super Coffee holds what coach Tim Cone describes as “some sort of a twice-to-beat advantage” in the semifinals.
Yap missed a game-tying 3-point shot at the buzzer last Wednesday, allowing Barangay Ginebra San Miguel pull off a tight win and level the best-of-7 series at 2-2.
But in front of a crowd of 20,026, the two-time MVP refused to be denied a second time.
With unerring aim, Yap delivered a long-distance missile launched from practically the same spot yesterday, drilling it and helping lift the Mixers past the Kings, 79-76, for a 3-2 lead in the PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup semis at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Game 6 is tomorrow, 8 p.m., also at the Big Dome, with the Mixers looking to wrap it up and arrange a best-of-7 championship showdown with Rain or Shine.
The Elasto Painters had earlier dispatched Petron Blaze, 4-1.
“A classic like this, it should come down to a last possession,” said Cone. “It used to be Alvin Patrimonio making the big shot. Now it’s James Yap.”
Patrimonio, a four-time MVP, is San Mig’s team manager.
Yap took the pass from Mark Barroca and made Ginebra’s Mac Baracael pay the prize for sagging off him, burying the triple with 13 seconds left for a 78-76 lead.
Ginebra called time and coach Ato Agustin drew a play for LA Tenorio to inbound the ball, get it back from Greg Slaughter and drive hard to the basket. Everything followed the letter except Tenorio’s layup which was heavily defended and hit not even the glass but only the side frame.
The Kings gave up a foul on rookie Justin Melton, who made the first free throw but missed the second with 7 seconds to go. Ginebra, bereft of timeouts, quickly put the ball into play and Tenorio raced it up court against the game clock.
But instead of rising for a 3-pointer, like Yap did in Game 4, or passing off to teammates at the wings, Tenorio opted to drive to the basket, hoping perhaps to fish a 3-point play.
He never did and instead left a lot of people confused, including Cone.
“Yes, I wasn’t even sure if we were up by 2 or 3,” said Cone when asked if he was surprised that Tenorio didn’t take a 3. “But you kinda get caught up in the moment in a battle of wills like that.”
The Mixers narrowly led, 46-44, at halftime where the biggest advantage was six points by either team.
Barroca had 11 points on 5 of 7 shooting as San Mig shot 51 percent from the floor and picked up 16 points from 11 Ginebra turnovers, four by Tenorio whose four errors in the fourth quarter nearly cost the Kings Game 4 last Wednesday.
Tenorio wound up with six turnovers, the same number from Game 4.
San Mig committed just 7 in the first two quarters.
James Yap struggled on 1 of 7 from the field but Mac Baracael and Japeth fared no better with 2 of 8 combined.
SAN MIG SUPER COFFEE 79 – Barroca 14, Pingris 12, Simon 10, Reavis 10, Yap 10, Mallari 8, Devance 7, Sangalang 6, Melton 2.
GINEBRA 76 – Ellis 20, Reyes 11, Aguilar 9, Slaughter 9, Tenorio 9, Caguioa 6, Baracael 5, Helterbrand 5, Mamaril 2, Monfort 0, Urbiztondo 0.
Quarters: 21-21, 46-44, 62-57, 79-76