by Tito S. Talao
Game Today (Mall of Asia Arena)
8 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Petron Blaze
Manila, Philippines – Mark Barroca hit a one-handed jumper with 11.6 seconds remaining to lift San Mig Super Coffee past Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 85-83, last night in Game 1 of their PLDT-myDSL PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is Friday, 8 p.m., at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
A cutting Joe Devance left Mac Baracael in his wake in tying the game, 83-all, free under the basket and found by Yancy de Ocampo from high post, 32.2 seconds to go.
Ginebra called time but Baracael couldn’t make the inbound pass against San Mig’s pressure defense and used up the Kings’ remaining timeout.
Coach Ato Agustin opted to stay with Baracael throwing in from in front the Ginebra bench, and again the former Far Eastern stalwart failed to find a recipient and instead dumped the ball at the outstretched hands of Devance.
Barroca then worked his magic as he had done so many times in the playoffs.
Needing just a two-pointer to tie the game, LA Tenorio, ignoring an open Japeth Aguilar this time, elected for a 3-pointer that hit the back iron. Marc Pingris missed two free throws while Tenorio’s heave sailed nowhere before the buzzer.
The Kings couldn’t hang on to two first half leads and wound up trailing, 43-40, at halftime as the Mixers refused to wilt early behind Joe Devance, who went 3 for 3 from three-point range, and PJ Simon (10 points).
Ginebra opened with a 6-0 lead and led 12-5 in the first quarter. The Kings also took a 37-31 edge in the second. But both times the top seed squandered their advantage with slapdash shot selection, reckless one-on-one forays and coast-to-coast turnovers.
San Mig, more organized and deliberate, closed the half with a 12-3 run. The Mixers were 3 of 6 in treys while the Kings bombed out at 3 of 12.
Meanwhile, Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao expects Petron to mount a strong comeback when they again clash today at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Showcasing the team’s vaunted running game anchored on the peppery Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, Jervy Cruz and rookie Alex Nuyles, the Painters broke the game wide open in the second quarter to coast to a 103-95 win and gain a head-start in their best-of-seven semifinal series.
The Painters were in control of the game, leading by as many as 17 points as they matched their offensive firepower with stingy defense.
“We did a good job defensively,” said Guiao of their Game 1 performance as the Painters scored 24 points off the Boosters’ 25 turnovers and had 35 points on fast break opportunities.
Guiao, however, does not expect the same thing to happen today.
— With report from Waylon Galvez
SAN MIG 85 – Devance 20, Simon 16, Pingris 10, De Ocampo 9, Sanga lang 8, Melton 8, Barroca 5, Yap 5, Mallari 4, Reavis 0.
GINEBRA 83 – Tenorio 16, Aguilar 14, Baracael 12, Slaughter 10, Ellis 9, Caguioa 8, Reyes 5, Helterbrand 4, Monfort 3, Mamaril 2.
Quarters: 26-28; 43-40; 57-65; 85-83.