MANILA, Philippines — Minus two of its key players, San Mig Coffee still found ways to beat Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 89-86, in the 38th PBA Governors’ Cup Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Marqus Blakely led the Mixers with 30 points but locals Mark Barroca and James Yap also played a crucial role.
“Must win. It could have gone either way,” said San Mig Coffee head coach Tim Cone after his team improved to 3-3. “We more of liked to play with a complete lineup but guys stepped up.”
“Mark (Barroca) did a great job in the backcourt. I don’t know if you noticed but the best defensive player in the court perhaps is James Yap.”
The two-time league MVP Yap, best known for his offensive game, scored 19 points but Cone felt that it was Yap’s play at the defensive end that really stood out.
“He guarded Caguioa tonight and he did a tremendous job tonight. He stepped up on both sides of the court,” Cone said of his swingman.
Caguioa, the reigning MVP, missed all of his 11 attempts from the field en route to just a six-point night.
Barroca, who ended up with 10 points, hit big shots in the final two minutes — sinking back-to-back jumpers — to weather a late Kings run. He buried a jumper from the left elbow to extend the Mixers’ lead back to four, 85-81, with 1:54 to go then sank another one 28 seconds later for an 87-83 edge.
Dior Lowhorn paced Ginebra, which slipped to 2-4, with 29 points and 18 rebounds. The Kings failed to sustain their strong start as their 12-0 lead quickly vanished. LA Tenorio flirted with a triple-double with 17 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
PJ Simon had 10 while Allein Maliksi chipped in with eight for the Mixers, who missed the services of Marc Pingris and Joe Devance.
“Allein has really been a real revelation for us. He has been playing at very high level,” commended Cone. “Ping really is our energizer. He brings so much energy to the important parts of the game.”
The Kings were also shorthanded without Kerby Raymundo and Japeth Aguilar who are both injured.