MANILA, Philippines – After struggling all conference long near the bottom of the standings, the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers finally stole a much-needed morale-boosting 83-79 win against rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings in the PLDT myDSL Philippine Cup on Sunday, Jan.5 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
SMC head coach Tim Cone credits their win with gaining back some of their confidence after a good start in the game.
“We got some things going early in the ballgame and then we were able to build some confidence from that,” said Cone after the game.
He elaborated on how much their mental conditioning has affected them.
“It’s really been a tough road for us. It’s 80 percent mental and 20% physical. We’ve been beating ourselves up in the last few games. There’s been a lot of negativity surrounding the team and we just try to put that all behind us and basically start from here.”
The Mixers came out strong and caught Ginebra napping to put early separation at 25-15 to end the first. They piled on that some more in the second canto as they posted their biggest lead of the game at 18 points, 43-25, on a bucket by PJ Simon.
But Ginebra made the adjustments at halftime and spewed out 31 points in the third while limiting SMC to 17 points, to erase the deficit and overtake them, 66-65, entering the fourth.
It seemed that momentum had swung permanently to the side of Ginebra with most of the 20,596 MoA Arena crowd backing them up. But San Mig, tired of losing miserably, held on to the confidence they mustered at the beginning and took it one play at a time.
A James Yap basket at the 9:36 mark of the fourth put the Mixers up, 69-68. That was the end of a seesaw battle as rookie Ian Sangalang scored over Ginebra’s tall frontline to extend the lead, 71-69.
Mark Barroca posted up his usual numbers this conference and outplayed his idol LA Tenorio–even blocking and stealing the rock from him after Tenorio attempted a fastbreak–scoring a team-high 16 points with 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals.
Simon was also a bane for Ginebra, scoring on crucial stretches to kill Ginebra’s run and eventually finishing with 15 points.
Japeth Aguilar attempted to bail out his team once again with a corner triple with 40 seconds left but it didn’t work for him this time. He finished with 26 points, 7 rebounds, 3 dimes and 6 blocks.
Despite Ginebra’s front court size advantage, SMC outrebounded Ginebra by a whopping 62-39 margin. Second-chance points also went the way of the Mixers, 22-15, thanks to the 25-9 advantage in offensive boards. Even Barroca outrebounded 7-footer Greg Slaughter, 7-6. The Mixers’ running game produced 12 points while Ginebra only had 4.
“That game gave us a little bit of life,” Cone said with a sigh of relief. “It keeps us alive in the conference. We needed that, it was really a must-win for us no doubt about it.”
San Mig Coffee (83): Barroca 16, Simon 15, Pingris 12, Yap 12, De Ocampo 9, Reavis 8, Devance 7, Sangalang 4
Ginebra (79): Aguilar 26, Slaughter 14, Tenorio 13, Baracael 12, Ellis 9, Monfort 3, Reyes 2
Quarter scores: 25-15, 48-35, 65-66, 83-79 -Rappler.com
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