Kings, Mixers brace for another tight duel

By Nelson Beltran, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 31 2014 09:38 AM | Updated as of Jan 31 2014 05:38 PM

MANILA, Philippines - San Mig Coffee and Barangay Ginebra are expected to hack it out in Game Two after the Mixers took a steal of a win in in the first game of their semifinal series Tuesday night in the PLDT MyDSL PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum tonight.

Game time is at 8 p.m. with both sides saying it’s going to be another test of will.

“Game One could have gone either way and I don’t see that changing throughout the series,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone.

“We expect Ginebra to jump up to another gear and it’s on us to be prepared,” Cone also said.

Mark Barroca couldn’t have chosen a better time to hit his lone field-goal basket in Game One, firing the game-winner in the nerve-wracking contest.

Ginebra was actually holding possession with the count tied at 83 with 32.2 seconds left to play.

Mac Baracael, however, fumbled the inbound, deflected by Joe Devance with the ball going to the hands of Barroca who made a running shot in transition play.

With no more timeout left after Barroca’s bucket, LA Tenorio had no choice but to take a harried three-pointer that missed the target.

Marc Pingris cleared the board and, though, he missed his two charities, the Kings had no more enough time to salvage the game or force overtime.

Being a good match-up, one crucial lapse could really be fatal in the San Mig-Ginebra battle.

One big question is how Ginebra will respond from the Game One loss.

The Kings, the playoffs top seeds, have actually dropped three of their last four matches while the Mixers are on a hot run, winning seven of their last eight games.

In the series opener, Cone said they scored a twinkill in pulling through while top guns James Yap and PJ Simon got some rest.

At the finish, Cone went to Barroca and rookie Justin Melton who vindicated their coach with their key exploits.

Melton scored seven of his eight points in the fourth quarter, helping the Mixers overcome a 57-65 deficit at the end of the third.

Devance and Yancy de Ocampo, meanwhile, stood their ground against the vaunted Ginebra Twin Tower of Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter as the Mixers engaged the Kings in a nip-and-tuck battle before prevailing at the finish.

Devance led all scorers with 20 points with De Ocampo adding nine markers as against the 24-point combined output of Aguilar and Slaughter.