MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – LA Tenorio finally broke out of his shell, posting a series-best 19 points to help push Barangay Ginebra San Miguel past the Star Hotshots, 91-67, in Game 6 of the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Sunday, February 19 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Tenorio, who had been unusually quiet through the series, went on to collect 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and two steals.
Sol Mercado was 8-of-10 from the field for a game-high 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists while the ailing Joe Devance still managed 14 points as the Gin Kings found contributors from everywhere to fend off the Hotshots.
Varying names rose up to the occasion at certain points in the game with Tenorio in the first half, Devance in the third, and Mercado and Jervy Cruz conspiring in the final frame.
Cruz chipped in 11 markers off the bench while Japeth Aguilar likewise posted 11 to go with his 10 boards as Ginebra broke the game wide open in the payoff period, with Star already all sorts of unraveled.
"I thought we were going to get blown out by 40 after the first 5 minutes," coach Tim Cone said, referring to the Gin Kings dangerously falling behind by 17-6 to open the game.
"But we showed great resolve, got back into it. We fell behind a bit by halftime, but Joe (Devance) inspired us in the third quarter."
The Gin Kings finished the first quarter on a 14-0 blast to gain the advantage but later found themselves on the receiving end of a 13-0 run by the Hotshots in the second.
Devance, who is playing through a foot injury he sustained in the quarterfinals against Alaska, poured all 14 of his points in a big third quarter that shifted momentum over to Ginebra for good.
Marc Pingris, who has been carrying his team in this series, put up his usual double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. But he had little help as Mark Barroca tallied 13 markers and Allein Maliksi had only 9 and 8 points, respectively.
Game 7 of this series will be on Tuesday, February 21. The other semifinals matchup between San Miguel and TNT will also feature a Game 7 to be played on Monday.
"What would a Manila Clasico series be without a Game 7?" said Cone. "I guess this is the way it's meant to be. We're supposed to play a Game 7."
Ginebra (91): Mercado 21, Tenorio 19, Devance 14, Aguilar 11, Cruz 11, Ferrer 6, Taha 3, Jamito 2, Thompson 2, Helterbrand 1, Ellis 1, Caguioa 0, Mariano 0, Marcelo 0.
Star (67): Pingris 14, Barroca 13, Maliksi 9, Lee 8, Ramos 6, Melton 4, Jalalon 4, Reavis 4, Sangalang 3, Brondial 2, Abundo 0, Dela Rosa 0, Simon 0.
Quarter scores: 25-22, 38-39, 62-54, 91-67.