Ginebra survives SMB's storm in OT to level finals series
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Barangay Ginebra San Miguel hung on for dear life in overtime, avoiding a complete collapse to defeat the San Miguel Beermen, 124-118, during Game 2 of the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup Finals on Sunday, February 26 at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City.
The best-of-7 series is now tied at one game apiece with Game 3 to be played on Wednesday, March 1 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Gin Kings needed an extra 5 minutes to rectify their nearly costly mistake of carelessly blowing a 26-point lead against the two-time defending champions.
Ginebra was saved by skipper Joe Devance's last-second putback that trickled in just before the final buzzer of regulation, tying the game at 110 to force overtime.
San Miguel, which stormed right back into the game with a 39-18 third quarter, hung around despite missing 3 of its starters.
Gunner Marcio Lassiter was ejected at the one-minute mark of the third after collecting a technical foul for taunting and a flagrant foul penalty 1 from the first period. He finished with 21 points and 4 rebounds.
Reigning 3-time league MVP June Mar Fajardo fouled out with still 2:33 left in regulation while playmaker Chris Ross followed suit with 1:28 to go in overtime. Team captain Arwind Santos likewise battled foul trouble all throughout.
Japeth Aguilar tallied 23 points and 11 rebounds as Ginebra bounced back from a Game 1 shellacking. Aguilar blew an opportunity to send Ginebra to victory when he forced a 3-point shot less than 4 seconds to go at fourth quarter's end, before Tubid split from the free throw line and set up Devance's crucial putback.
Scottie Thompson registered an impressive statline of 18 points, 18 rebounds, and 8 assists, while rookie Kevin Ferrer exploded for 21 markers on 8-of-10 shots off the bench as he helped Ginebra establish the big lead in the first half.
All of the Gin Kings' starters finished in double figures as Devance, still playing through a foot injury, had 16 points, 7 rebounds, and two blocks. LA Tenorio contributed 15 markers and 5 assists, while Sol Mercado had an all-around game of 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists.
Similarly, San Miguel's starters did much of the work as Santos paced them with a double-double 23 markers and 15 boards on top of 3 steals and two blocks.
Chris Ross likewise came up with a double-double effort of 16 markers with 11 dimes as Alex Cabagnot produced 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Fajardo was contained in Game 2 as he had just 10 points and 7 rebounds and Ginebra dominated in points the paint, 64-42.
Ronald Tubid and Gabby Espinas were crucial contributors for the Beermen coming off the bench with 16 and 13 points, respectively.
Tubid's hot shooting of 4-of-6 triples allowed San Miguel to tie the game and eventually take the lead late in the fourth. It was also a Tubid trey that completed a thrilling 6-0 swing for SMB in overtime, tying it all up again at 118 before Ginebra pulled away for the win.
Espinas gave he Beermen a 109-108 advantage late in the fourth with a go-ahead 3-pointer with 21.6 ticks left in regulation.
Ginebra (124): Aguilar 23, Ferrer 21, Thompson 18, Devance 16, Tenorio 15, Mercado 11, Ellis 8, Marcelo 6, Cruz 4, Taha 2.
San Miguel (118): Santos 23, Lassiter 21, Ross 16, Tubid 16, Cabagnot 13, Espinas 13, Fajardo 10, Heruela 4, De Ocampo 2, Agovida 0, Reyes 0.
Quarter scores: 28-20, 67-43, 85-82, 110-110, 124-118.