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Barroca credits maturity to Johnny

San Mig Coffee’s Mark Barroca (right) uses the screen of teammate Joe Devance to elude Barangay Ginebra’s LA Tenorio and Mac Baracael during their PBA semifinal game at the Mall of Asia Arena yesterday. (Ali Vicoy)

San Mig Super Coffee guard Mark Barroca credits much of his maturity this season to assistant coach Johnny Abarrientos.

Barroca, now in his third year as a pro, played like a man on a mission, scoring, passing and hustling on defense to help San Mig grab a 2-1 series lead over Barangay Ginebra in their PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.

The 5’10” pride of Zamboanga scored just five points during the series-opener, but his tough turnaround shot off LA Tenorio’s outstretched arms in the dying seconds lifted San Mig to a thrilling 85-83 win over Ginebra.

Ginebra pocketed Game Two with an easy 93-64 demolition of a listless San Mig squad.

But two days later, Barroca led the Mixers’ spirited charge, banging 15 of his career-high 25 points in the second half to help San Mig pull off a 97-89 win and regain control of the series.

The former Far Eastern University playmaker added eight rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block for the Mixers, who are looking to grab a commanding 3-1 lead on Wednesday.

His stellar plays in the series earned him a third straight Accel-PBA Player of the Week, beating out Rain or Shine guard Paul Lee in the weekly citation.

“Malaking bagay yung tinuturo sa akin ni coach Johnny kasi siyempre, dun siya naging successful sa triangle (offense) dahil marami siyang naging championship nuon,” Barroca said, who also earned Best Player awards in Games One and Three.

Barroca said he couldn’t care less if he scores or nor in the game, so long as he could contribute in other ways and help the Mixers earn a Finals trip in the Philippine Cup.

“Kahit hindi ako umiskor, basta makatulong lang sa depensa.”

Barroca is averaging all-around numbers of 12.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.6 steals in 29.6 minutes in the semifinal series.

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Written by Johnny Lugay

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