MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Mac Baracael brought plenty of ammunition with him both on offense and defense, serving as game-changer for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel as they outlasted the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers, 85-82, in the PLDT Home DSL Philippine Cup on Wednesday, February 5 at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Baracael, who was a consistent contributor for Ginebra every time he came in, made the crucial swipe with 1:13 left in the game to force the turnover on the Mixers. It was a pivotal possession for San Mig Coffee as they were down 79-82.
The 28-year-old forward went 4-of-5 from the three-point area, including two triples early in the third, dropping 8 points on a sizzling 14-3 Ginebra run up until the 6:38 mark that buried San Mig Coffee in a double-digit hole. Baracael also hit a trey to make it a 65-50 advantage with 4:50 left in the third. He led Ginebra with 20 points in 20 minutes of play.
Ginebra, however, squandered that lead as San Mig Coffee retaliated with full force to start the fourth, going on a telling 16-0 run capped off by a Justin Melton triple that wiped out Ginebra’s lead and put San Mig Coffee ahead, 72-70, with 9:15 left.
The Mixers, whose defense was weak in the third, suddenly powered up and denied Ginebra’s every attempt, forcing turnovers and 24-shot clock violations. Using the same small ball combination of guards Mark Barroca and Melton, they held Ginebra scoreless until the 7:08 mark of the fourth when Greg Slaughter finally got a bucket to trickle in.
Ginebra hung tough down the stretch in spite of multiple occasions of fumbling the ball and turning it over. Ginebra registered 22 turnovers that resulted to 26 turnover points by the Mixers.
San Mig Coffee outscored Ginebra in the fourth, 26-15.
Japeth Aguilar, who only had 7 points, made the basket when it counted most, scoring on a putback off an LA Tenorio miss to shove Ginebra ahead 82-79, with 1:18 remaining.
Emman Monfort provided the spark once more for Ginebra, drilling the go-ahead three-pointer with 5:17 left as they weathered the Mixers’ furious rally. Monfort and Tenorio were head coach Ato Agustin’s answer to the Mixers’ back court.
But Joe Devance would not go down without a fight as he nailed a triple to make it only a one-point affair, 82-83, with 20.1 seconds left. However the Mixers were unable to give up the foul right away and sent Tenorio to the line with 5.4 ticks left. Tenorio sank the last two points of his 16-point output.
James Yap wanted to pile on to his 20 points with a triple and send the game into overtime. He had a good look but his shot went in and out.
“I think hindi nawala yung composure ng mga players,” Agustin said of how they weathered the Mixers’ comeback. “Focused pa rin sila. Nag-stick pa rin sila sa game plan namin. (I think the players did not lose their composure. they stayed focused. They stuck to our game plan.”
He added, “I think na-contain lang namin ng kaunti yung mga guards nila.” (I think we also were able to contain their guards.)
Barroca and Melton each scored 10 and 9 points, respectively. While PJ Simon was held to just 5 markers.
With the win, Ginebra tied their best-of-7 semifinal series at 2-2 and will face San Mig Coffee for Game 5 on Saturday, February 8 at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Ginebra (85): Baracael 20, Tenorio 16, Slaughter 11, Ellis 9, Aguilar 7, Caguioa 7, Helterbrand 5, Monfort 5, Reyes 3, Mamaril 2.
San Mig Coffee (82): Yap 20, Devance 13, Barroca 10, Melton 9, Pingris 7, Sangalang 7, Mallari 6, Simon 5, Reavis 5, De Ocampo 0.
Quarterscores: 21-20, 46-43, 70-56, 85-82
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