Yap’s late 3 lifts San Mig Coffee over Ginebra for 3-2 lead
MANILA, Philippines – San Mig Coffee outlasted Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in a 79-76 thriller to move a win away from booking a Finals ticket in the 2014 PBA Philippine Cup Saturday before a raucous crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
James Yap, who had missed a potential game-tying triple in the waning seconds of Game 4, buried the go-ahead three-pointer from the left wing to give the Mixers a 78-76 edge with 13.4 seconds left.
Yap finished with 10 points as four other San Mig Coffee players ended up in double-figure scoring led by Mark Barroca’s 14 points.
“[The game] should come down to the last possession and it came down to a James Yap three-point shot. In the old days it was Alvin Patrimonio making a big post move or something and nowadays it’s James Yap,” said San Mig Coffee head coach Tim Cone.
“Nice pass by Mark (Barroca) he could have forced something. He knew it was an option. Mark just played wonderful defense on LA Tenorio in that last possession and it worked for us. It was hard to stay calm in the ball game. Crowd was going nuts and I’m happy I’m just a part of it,” added Cone, who’s been through a lot of nip-and-tuck playoff battles throughout his celebrated coaching career.
And this game was one of those with neither team giving an inch to the other.
Chris Ellis sank a jumper over Joe Devance to give the Kings, who battled back from 57-66 early in the fourth quarter, a 76-65 cushion with 22.9 ticks remaining before Barroca set up Yap for the game-winning basket.
“It’s just a one game lead and we were like this last series, we were down 2-3 and we ended up winning games six and seven so we know by experience this game doesn’t really mean much. We have the lead but we still got to close it off and that’s the hardest part,” Cone acknowledged.
Down two, LA Tenorio drove hard to the basket but put up a wild shot with the Mixers’ defense seemingly anticipating the play. Rookie Justin Melton grabbed the rebound and was fouled with exactly seven seconds left but he would only make the second free throw, leaving the door open for the Kings to force overtime.
Tenorio, needing to go full length of the court with his team out of timeouts, got another go at a crucial possession but decided to go for a layup which he missed instead of taking a 3-pointer to try to extend the game.
“You get caught up in the moment,” Cone said of Tenorio’s move. “I can’t blame LA, I’ve been caught up many times. LA’s been one of the smartest players I’ve ever been around.”
The Mixers can close the series out and arrange a championship clash with red-hot Rain or Shine in Game 6 on Monday also at the Big Dome in Cubao.
The Elasto Painters, who have won 12 of their last 13 games, needed only five games to boot out the Petron Blaze Boosters and seal a return trip to the all-Filipino final for the second straight season.
Ellis led the Kings with 20 points, 11 of which came in the second half.
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