Ginebra withstands SMB's second half storm, equalizes in PBA Finals

PBA

By Ivan Saldajeno

LUCENA--Ginebra blew a 26-point lead but fought back to subdue San Miguel in overtime, 124-118, in Game 2 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the Quezon Convention Center on Sunday night.

The Barangay survived a third quarter explosion from the Beermen, who had to play the rest of the game without Marcio Lassiter and Junemar Fajardo, and broke away in the dying moments of the extension to equalize their best-of-seven series at 1-1.

Ginebra waxed hot in the first half, opening a 65-39 lead late in the second quarter before settling for a 24-point cushion, 67-43, at halftime.

But San Miguel launched a 15-0 run to start the third quarter and eventually came to within 2, 82-84, with 1:04 left in the period after a Marcio Lassiter three-ball.

However, Lassiter's shot came at a price as he was slapped with a technical foul for doing a "Salt Bae" pose at Sol Mercado leading to his ejection since he earlier incurred a flagrant foul penalty 1.

The Barangay tried to finally repulse the Beermen in the fourth, stretching their lead to six, 91-85, with 9:24 left in regulation.

But the Beermen answered with an 13-4 run capped by three free throws from Ronald Tubid off a flagrant foul penalty 1 on Kevin Ferrer and another basket by Gabby Espinas to finally claim the lead, 98-95, with 5:50 left in regulation.

After a Joe Devance field goal, both teams exchanged baskets before Ginebra launched another 7-1 mini run to go up, 106-101, with 2:33 to go in regulation.

But five unanswered points from SMB, a two-pointer from Espinas and a triple from Arwind Santos, knotted the game anew at 106-all with 47.2 seconds left in regulation.

Japeth Aguilar sank two free throws off a Junemar Fajardo foul, which also led to his departure frrom the match, to put the Barangay back up, 108-106, with 34.1 seconds on the clock.

But Espinas, who is better known as an inside specialist than a perimeter player, put the Beermen ahead again with a three-pointer with 21.8 seconds left for a 109-108 lead.

Devance then threw a bad pass intended for Thompson as the latter fell down while trying to get free against the defense.

However, Coach Tim Cone opted to gamble for a steal, which paid off as Thompson took the ball from Santos to give Ginebra its first chance of snatching the win from SMB. Aguilar's triple rimmed out, and Tubid had a chance to put more pressure on Ginebra through charities with 3.2 seconds left.

But Tubid only made 1-of-2 from the line, slightly stretching the Beermen's lead to two, 110-108.

Santos appeared to have saved the game for them as he got a piece of Devance's layup, but the latter got the ball back and quickly put it back in just before time expired to send the game to overtime.

After an exchange of shots, Ginebra scored six straight points to reclaim the lead only to be canceled by back-to-back treys from Tubid.

The Beermen eventually lost steam in the end as the Barangay scored the game's last six points.

Aguilar had 23 points 12 rebounds, and one block, while Ferrer added 21 points on 8-of-10 baskets with a perfect 5-of-5 from inside the arc with three rebounds, one assist, and one block for Ginebra.

Scottie Thompson came close to a rare 20-20 point-rebound performance for a guard by tallying 18 points and 18 rebounds and even flirted at a triple-double with eight assists along with three steals.

Santos led SMB with 23 points, but he needed 26 shots for it, although he also had 15 rebounds, two blocks, and three steals with one assist.

The series goes to the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City for Games 3, 4, and 5.

Box Scores:

Ginebra 124-Aguilar 23, Ferrer 21, Thompson 18, Devance 16, Tenorio 15, Mercado 11, Ellis 8, Marcelo 6, Cruz 4, Taha 2

San Miguel 118-Santos 23, Lassiter 21, Ross 16, Tubid 16, Cabagnot 13, Espinas 13, Fajardo 10, Heruela 4, De Ocampo 2, Agovida 0, Reyes 0

Quarterscores: 28-20, 67-43, 85-82, 110-110, 124-118

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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