Mixers come back from 16 points down
By TITO S. TALAO
Manila, Philippines – Haulers probably headed for the Philsports Arena to transport six huge bundles of multi-colored balloons to the Smart Araneta Coliseum for Game 5 on Sunday had to turn back empty after the San Mig Super Coffee completed one of the most dramatic comebacks in PBA Finals history.
Mark Barroca, going one-on-one against Jimmy Alapag, poured 12 of his game-high 22 points and James Yap all of his 10 in the fourth quarter when all hell broke loose as the Mixers rose from the dead in Game 4 of the PLDT Home TVolution PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals to stun the Tropang Texters, 100-91, last night and claim their 12th franchise championship and third straight from last season’s Governor’s Cup.
“This team has proven me wrong so many times,” said San Mig coach Tim Cone, who added a 17th title to his bulging trophy chest. “I was ready to give up on then at halftime and I actually asked them if they wanted to rest for Game 5 but they yelled ‘no. They just battled and battled.”
Barroca had a magical fourth quarter, tormenting Alapag no end with his one-handed turnaround jumpers that bailed out the Mixers every time Talk ‘N Text struck back. But Yap, the hero of their Game 3 victory, drained two critical 3-point shots in the decisive period and ultimately earned the nod as the Holcim-PBA Press Corps Finals MVP.
Maybe it was their unfamiliarity with the venue, the lights or something else, but the Mixers looked lost and distracted in the first half as Talk ‘N Text stormed to a 17-1 lead and hang on to a 52-38 advantage at the break.
San Mig turned the ball over in their first four possessions – two by Marc Pingris and two by James Mays – and didn’t have a field goal until the 6:20 mark when coach Tim Cone apparently had enough and sent in Justin Melton, Mark Barroca and Ian Sangalang, who gave the Mixers their first basket.
But everything unraveled for the Texters in the third quarter where the Mixers outscored them, 31-22, behind a 56 percent field goal shooting.
Facing a 14-point deficit with two quarters left, the Mixers forced the Texters to beat them from the outside and TNT went for it, launching 13 but clanging 7. They also abandoned their inside game, winding up without a free throw attempt just as the Mixers were charging back to grab the lead, 69-68, on a Pingris basket the set up the down-the-wire finish.
Jayson Castro, voted Best Player of the Conference, was a marked man throughout and got off just 5 points on 2of 5 from the floor. He also committe4d 4 turnovers.
SAN MIG SUPER COFFEE 100 – Barroca 22, Mays 18, Devance 12, Sangalang 12, Melton 11, Yap 10, Pingris 6, Simon 6, Reavis 2, Mallari 1, De Ocampo 0, Gaco 0.
TALK N’ TEXT SUPER COFFEE 91 – Alapag 17, Howell 16, De Ocampo 16, Canaleta 16, Williams 12, Castro 5, Reyes 5, Seigle 2, Carey 2, Fonacier 0.
Quarters: 15-25, 38-52, 69-74, 100-91