MANILA, Philippines—Ginebra doubled the effort and was rewarded with a 79-77 triumph over Rain or Shine Friday to keep its semifinals bid alive in the 2012 PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Kings forged a winner-take-all game three for the remaining semifinals spot set on Sunday, banking on a strong start and a stronger finish.
Ginebra, after being down at the half, seized the edge for good in the payoff period, with veteran big Rudy Hatfield providing the hustle plays leading to crucial points.
With Hatfield’s contagious energy—the Kings racked up a crucial points off the offensive boards, including the final four in the final two minutes which kept them in the lead.
“The key thing was the personification of Rudy, yung puso. He doesn’t wanna give up diving for loose balls,” said head coach Siot Tangquincen.
Rookie Chirs Ellis’ putback off Mark Caguioa’s missed bucket made it a 79-72 lead for Ginebra with 1:45 to go— which enough to survive Rain or Shine’s last ditch rally.
Ellis led all Ginebra scorers with 18 points, while Caguio had 17. Hatfield finished with 10 points and nine boards.
Ginebra thwarted Rain or Shine’s attempts—starting from the inbound—to tie or win the game after the recent Governors’ Cup champions went on a 5-0 run to trim the lead to two.
Caguioa’s sticky defense on Paul Lee in the final 11 seconds, and Ginebra’s final stop of the Elastopainters’ inbound pass sealed the victory.
Former rookie-of-the-year Paul Lee paced the Elastopainters with 19 points —including the trey that pulled them within two with under a minute to go.
Jeff Chan added 12 points, and had two treys— that could’ve given Rain or Shine the lead at one point down the stretch— that just rattled out.
GINEBRA 79 – Ellis 18, Caguioa 17, Tenorio 16, Hatfield 10, Mamaril 9, Maierhofer 4, Helterbrand 3, Taha 2, Jensen 0, Espiritu 0, Wilson 0, Raymundo 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 77 – Lee 19, Chan 12, Arana 9, Cruz 8, Norwood 8, Tiu 7, Quinahan 5, Belga 3, Matias 2, Tang 2, Rodriguez 2.
Quarters: 22-20, 33-41, 57-55, 79-77