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PBA: Ginebra wins, reduces SMB advantage

LA Tenorio of Barangay Ginebra drives past Marcio Lassiter of San Miguel Beer (PBA Images)

LA Tenorio of Barangay Ginebra drives past Marcio Lassiter of San Miguel Beer (PBA Images)

by Jonas Terrado

Game Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Magnolia vs NLEX
(Series tied 1-1)

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel showcased its trademark “Never Say Die” spirit last night and prevented defending champion San Miguel from completing another comeback to win, 95-87, and reduce the Beermen’s lead to 2-1 in their best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Japeth Aguilar had 25 points and 12 rebounds while Prince Caperal continued his role as a revelation by hitting 12 points, including a crucial three that came at a time when San Miguel reduced a 14-point deficit to three, 83-80, with over five minutes left.

LA Tenorio’s three-point play in the dying seconds put the icing on the cake for Ginebra, which stayed alive in the series after dropping the first two games that included a heartbreaking 104-102 overtime loss Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. In that game, the Kings led 15 in regulation and four going into the final minute of the extension.

“We’re not satisfied but we’re happy to get one,” said coach Tim Cone, whose team will attempt to tie the series tomorrow, still at the Pasay City showplace.

June Mar Fajardo had 23 points and 16 rebounds but the Beermen saw Game 2 hero Marcio Lassiter score just four of his 14 points in the second half and Chris Ross playing the role of spectator after halftime after suffering a strained right thigh, his status for Game 4 still uncertain.

Arwind Santos, who has relished the heel role after getting a round of boos from the Ginebra faithful, had 13 points and six rebounds for San Miguel, which nearly came back after trailing 83-69 before the midway point of the payoff period.

The Beermen scored 11 straight, ending on two Alex Cabagnot free throws with nearly six minutes. But Caperal, who has taken advantage of Greg Slaughter’s absence to due to an ankle injury, made an open three with the shot clock winding down to make it 86-80 for Ginebra.

Caperal’s shot turned out to be a blessing in disguise after he was forced to replace Jervy Cruz, who was forced to sit out for three minutes after committing a Flagrant Foul 1 on Cabagnot.

Scottie Thompson’s layup made it 90-81 for Ginebra, though San Miguel made one last attempt at stealing the game when it got into within three anew, 90-87. Aguilar, however, scored a dunk off a Joe Devance miss, 1:50 left, to put the Kings in safer territory.


GINEBRA 95 – Aguilar J. 25, Tenorio 18, Caperal 12, Cruz 12, Devance 11, Thompson 9, Mercado 8, Ferrer 0, Manuel 0.

SAN MIGUEL 87 – Fajardo 23, Lassiter 14, Santos 13, Cabagnot 13, Ganuelas-Rosser 8, Ross 6, Lanete 5, Heruela 3, Espinas 2, Mamaril 0, De Ocampo 0, Pessumal 0.

Quarters: 19-15; 45-39; 79-65; 95-87.