‘Coffee Prince’ powers San Mig Coffee to Game Three win over Ginebra in Manila Clasico semis

InterAksyon.com · Sunday, February 2, 2014 · 7:22 pm
PBA/Nuki Sabio
PBA/Nuki Sabio

In Game Three’s battle among basketball royalty, the Coffee Prince stood tallest against the towering Gin Kings.

Mark Barroca scored 25 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and handed out five assists to power the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers to a 97-89 victory over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.

“We deserved a good game. Last game was a blowout,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone.

The win gave San Mig Coffee a 2-1 series lead in their Manila Clasico semifinals series in the PLDT Home DSL Philippine Cup.

Barroca led the way, breaking out of a slump after averaging just six points in the first two games of the series. Teaming with backcourt dynamo Justin Melton, Barroca helped the Mixers open the fourth quarter on a 12-5 run for an 83-73 advantage.

Ginebra battled back, scoring the next seven points of the game to come within three, 83-80, on a Greg Slaughter layup with 4:29 left.

But the Mixers responded with a fierce 10-2 run capped by a three-pointer by Barroca that sealed the game, 93-82, with 1:55 left.

The loss spoiled the 29-point, 13-rebounds effort of 7-foot Ginebra rookie Slaughter, who was nearly unguardable in the first three periods before slowing down in the fourth quarter.

“Greg was awesome, he was unbelievable,” said Cone, who assigned defensive ace Marc Pingris to check Slaughter in the final period.

“Such a luxury to have a guy like Ping. He can guard anybody. I haven’t seen anybody like that.”

The Mixers had a hot start behind veterans Peter June Simon, James Yap, and Pingris, taking a 21-6 lead to open the game.

“The guys got a lot of character, coming out strong. I was worried we’re a little tired mentally,” said Cone, whose team scored 19 fastbreak points against two for Ginebra.

“James, PJ, Ping, Rafi (Reavis) and Joe (Devance) set the tone for us that got us in a confident mode.”

In the end, it was the young guys on the floor, with Barroca and Melton being joined by another rookie Ian Sangalang, who did a good job on struggling Ginebra star Japeth Aguilar.

“We got great contributions down the stretch Justin and Ian,” said Cone.

Simon had 19 points for San Mig Coffee. Marc Pingris posted 15 points and 12 rebounds, while James Yap had 13 and nine for the Mixers, which squeaked out a 48-47 advantage off the boards.

Mark Caguioa added 21 points, eight rebounds, and five assists for Ginebra, while LA Tenorio chipped in 14 points. Japeth Aguilar had 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Gin Kings.

Despite the 2-1 edge, Cone said there’s no stepping off the gas pedal against the dangerous Gin Kings.

“It’s gonna be a tough series. We’re still not comfortable being 2-1,” said Cone, as the two teams gear up for Game Four on Wednesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum. “We need to be A-plus to beat this team.”

The scores:

SAN MIG SUPER COFFEE 97 – Barroca 25, Simon 19, Pingris 15, Yap 13, Devance 8, Reavis 7, Melton 6, Mallari 2, Sangalang 2, De Ocampo 0.

GINEBRA 89 – Slaughter 29, Caguioa 21, Tenorio 14, Aguilar 12, Baracael 7, Ellis 3, Helterbrand 2, Mamaril 1, Ababou 0, Monfort 0.

Quarters: 25-17, 46-47, 71-68, 97-89

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