Ginebra overcomes rival Star in Game 7 for PH Cup Finals berth
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Before a massive, rowdy crowd of 20, 221 people, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel took care of business against rival Star Hotshots, 89-76, in Game 7 of the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Tuesday, February 21 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
With the win, the Gin Kings are back in the finals just 4 months since winning their first title in 8 years. They will clash with two-time defending champion San Miguel Beermen in an all-San Miguel Corp. best-of-7 series starting Friday, February 24.
Four players finished in double figures for Ginebra with guard Sol Mercado sizzling with 23 points on 4-of-6 three-pointers, including a crucial trey in the third that extended his team's lead to 6 after Star came to within 3.
Star got to within 3 and Sol Mercado comes to the rescue with this big 3! He was literally limping (appeared to hurt ankle) 30 sec earlier pic.twitter.com/JqcHqnfRmi— Rappler Sports (@RapplerSports) February 21, 2017
Mercado, who has also done a commendable job defending Paul Lee in the series, added 3 rebounds and 5 assists.
Japeth Aguilar had 19 points and 5 rebounds while LA Tenorio sustained his offensive fire from Game 6 with 21 markers, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Scottie Thompson chipped in 10 points and 9 rebounds, including 4 on the offensive glass.
Ginebra came out the gates fired up and quickly set the tone of the contest in two-time Grand Slam champion coach Tim Cone's 15th Game 7 appearance. He upped his record to 9-6 in Game 7s, battling against an inexperienced rookie coach Chito Victolero.
The Gin Kings safely maintained double-digit deficits through the second half as the Hotshots lacked offensive firepower save for Allein Maliksi, who tallied 22 points on 3-of-4 triples off the bench.
Marc Pingris, who has had a consistently productive series, wrapped up the Philippine Cup with a 17-point, 8-rebound, 6-assist, and two-block effort.
Aldrech Ramos was the only other Hotshots in double digits with 14 points and 8 boards.
Guard Lee had another quiet night of just 4 points on two-of-8 shooting while rookie playmaker Jio Jalalon also settled for 4 markers as he battled foul trouble as early as the second quarter.
The Gin Kings shot more effectively from long range at 52% compared to the Hotshots' 31% or 7-of-22 shooting.
But the big difference was in free throws, where Star was 3-of-10 while Ginebra made good with 22-of-27 charities.
Ginebra (89): Mercado 23, Tenorio 21, Aguilar 19, Thompson 10, Devance 7, Cruz 6, Ferrer 2, Marcelo 1, Caguioa 0, Ellis 0.
Star (76): Maliksi 22, Pingris 17, Ramos 14, Barroca 8, Reavis 5, Lee 4, Jalalon 4, Melton 2, Simon 0, Sangalang 0, Dela Rosa 0.
Quarter scores: 26-16, 45-36, 65-61, 89-76.