San Mig Coffee nips Talk 'N Text in OT, takes semis Game 1
MANILA, Philippines - A semifinal game between two dominant teams in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) needs more than just 48 minutes before a winner can be decided.
As the dust settled after an extra 5 minutes on Thursday night's Game 1 of the semifinals of the 2014 PLDT Home Telpad PBA Governors' Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, it was the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers who emerged victorious.
The Mixers escaped the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters, 92-88, in overtime to take Game 1 of the best-of-5 semifinal series.
With great difficulty upending the Texters' lead throughout the contest, San Mig Coffee finally stopped playing catch-up and played good enough in the final minutes of regulation, erasing a 9-point fourth quarter deficit, and eventually forcing the extra session on a huge basket by comebacking swingman Allein Maliksi.
With just 21.2 ticks on the clock, import Marqus Blakely received the inbound and drove hard to the hoop before kicking out to a wide open Maliksi for the left corner trey to send the game overtime.
Running on their last few pints of energy, the Mixers pushed through in the final 5 minutes with big baskets and just enough defense to make the necessary stops.
Marc Pingris (10 points) gave the Mixers their first taste of the lead since the third quarter with an and-one play, 80-79, with 4 minutes left in overtime.
A Mark Barroca (11 points) one-hander pushed San Mig's lead to 84-82 later on with 2:22 to play.
But San Mig truly began creating some separation from their finals rivals from last conference with a freebie and a basket from Pingris that stretched their advantage to 87-82, with 46.7 left, putting the Texters down 1-0 in the series.
"We just battled and stayed in the game and gave ourselves a chance in the end," said San Mig head coach Tim Cone.
"We lost PJ (Simon) and then halfway through the third quarter we lost James (Yap), who hurt his foot. I'm not sure what the injury is. I don't know how serious it is, we'll know tomorrow."
San Mig Coffee managed to scrape through without PJ Simon, who was ruled out of the game due to severe back spasms he has been experiencing since their last game.
The veteran guard managed to be present on the bench at tonight's game and, according to Cone, will hopefully return for Game 2.
Fatigue is also settling in now for the Mixers after playing 3 games in 4 days, with Joe Devance also suffering from back spasms in overtime.
"We're just a team of attrition right now, just trying to battle our way in with the guys we have. Just battling and grinding. I look at the game and I go, 'how the heck we won that game?,'" Cone remarked.
"We just tried to pound the ball inside in overtime and tried to get baskets inside or fouls. Overall it was a scattered performance by us because we didn't play well throughout the first probably 36 minutes."
As expected, it was a tight ballgame between the two powerhouse squads with champion coaches Norman Black and Cone playing their own chess match from the sidelines.
The Mixers had some difficulty spacing the floor in the third, owing to the Texters' defense, leaving them struggling to make something of their triangle offense and unable to overtake Talk 'N Text, coming into the fourth still down 65-62.
But San Mig Coffee came charging at Talk 'N Text, taking it one possession at a time and coming to within 75-72 with 3:15 to play after a Devance basket.
However, as Talk 'N Text milked their shot clock on one end without scoring, Devance muffed a layup to the basket with 1:15 left.
A couple of breaks went the way of San Mig entering the final minute of the contest.
Blakely, who ended up with 20 points and 10 rebounds, went 2-of-4 in consecutive trips to the basket to take his team to within a point, 75-74, with 49.3 seconds remaining.
Those missed freebies quickly came around to haunt the Mixers as Jayson Castro (24 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, two steals) sank a pull-up jumper for a 77-74 Texters cushion, before Maliksi sank the game-tying triple.
Ranidel de Ocampo came up with 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Texters as Paul Harris added 17 markers and 10 boards.
Talk 'N Text failed to draw first blood despite shooting the lights out from deep with 12 triples all game long.
San Mig Super Coffee 92 - Blakely 20, Yap 13, Barroca 11, Maliksi 10, Pingris 10, Devance 9, Sangalang 9, Mallari 6, Melton 4, Reavis 0.
Talk 'N Text 88 - Castro 24, De Ocampo 19, Harris 17, Williams 9, Alapag 5, Fonacier 4, Baclao 4, Reyes 3, Canaleta 3, Carey 0.
Quarterscores: 18-22, 39-40, 62-65, 77-77, 92-88.