MANILA, Philippines—LA Tenorio ran the show while Vernon Macklin made best of his passes as Ginebra tripped San Mig Coffee, 96-88, Sunday night in a classic showdown at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mark Caguioa also knocked down huge triples in the final 80 seconds as the Kings breathe life into their campaign in the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup with their second victory.
“It’s nice to beat the champion team. A very strong team, taller and bigger than us. We played with heart tonight,” said head coach Al Francis Chua.
Tenorio kept Ginebra out of trouble with four crucial freebies in the last 20 seconds before Macklin punctuated the confidence-boosting win with a slam at the buzzer.
Ginebra managed to protect its lead in the fourth as Tenorio effectively facilitated the offense — lobing it to Macklin in transition then setting up the import for a slam two plays later for a 73-60 edge.
Tenorio then knocked down a jumper to make it a 77-62 lead with 6:04 to go and complete double-double performance (12 points, four rebounds, 13 assists) for a second game in a row.
But the defending titlists stormed back within 77-82, on a three-point play by James Yap with 1:37 left.
That’s when Caguioa uncorked back-to-back triples — both with just a few seconds left on the Kings’ shotclock — to keep Ginebra’s distance.
“Mark just shone in the last minutes of the fourth,” said Chua of Caguioa, who finished with a team best 25 points.
Denzel Bowles also had 25 points, while Yap added 21 for the Mixers, who absorbed their fourth setback.
San Mig Coffee, though, went down swinging with Yap making up for his scoreless showing in the first 10 minutes of the fourth with back-to-back triples.
Joe Devance, who added 13 points, even followed it up with a trey of his own with 11.8 seconds left, 88-92, but it was too late to bail San Mig Coffee out.
GINEBRA 96 – Caguioa 25, Macklin 20, Mamaril 13, Tenorio 12, Ellis 11, Raymundo 6, Labagala 4, Baracael 4, Maierhofer 1.
SAN MIG COFFEE 88 – Bowles 25, Yap 21, Devance 13, Pingris 11, Mallari 4, Barroca 4, Simon 4, De Ocampo 4, Najorda 2, Gaco 0.
Quarters: 24-17, 48-35, 67-58, 96-88