MANILA, Philippines – In the first nip-and-tuck battle of the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals, Barangay Ginebra proved to be the more resilient team than San Miguel.
Scottie Thompson drained the biggest buckets down the stretch as the Gin Kings escaped the Beermen, 87-83, in Game 5 before a mammoth crowd at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, August 5, for a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 affair.
With his team trailing 80-83, Thompson scored 6 straight points of his team-high 20 markers in the final 1:07 minutes as the Gin Kings moved a win closer to dethroning the defending champions.
The do-it-all guard, who also had 11 rebounds and 3 assists, sank his freebies following a foul from June Mar Fajardo and converted back-to-back layups to give Ginebra an 86-83 advantage with 23 seconds left.
San Miguel had several chances to tie the game but Chris Ross and Arwind Santos muffed their respective 3-point attempts.
Ross had another chance to knot the score after hauling down an offensive rebound only to be called for an out of bounds turnover right after firing a triple, which also missed.
LA Tenorio split his free throws for the Gin Kings, closing the door on any possible Beermen comeback.
Justin Brownlee finished with an all-around effort of 18 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks, LA Tenorio chipped in 15 points and 5 assists while Greg Slaughter added 13 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks for Ginebra.
The game was for the Beermen to win as they led 83-78 with 3:17 minutes left thanks to a Fajardo dunk until the Gin Kings stormed back in the only game of the series that has been decided by less than 25 points.
The first 4 games had a winning margin of 30.3 points.
Renaldo Balkman paced San Miguel with 34 points, 20 rebounds and two blocks while Fajardo churned out 23 points and 11 boards in the losing effort.
Game 6 is on Wednesday, August 8, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Ginebra (87): Thompson 20, Brownlee 18, Tenorio 15, Slaughter 13, Devance 8, Aguilar 8, Chan 15, Mercado 0, Cruz 0, Ferrer 0
San Miguel (83): Balkman 34, Fajardo 23, Lassiter 13, Cabagnot 5, Ross 3, Standhardinger 3, Santos 2, Nabong 0
Quarter scores: 24-26, 40-40, 66-66, 87-83