San Mig now a win away from finals
MANILA, Philippines – He ain't "Big Game James" for nothing.
With 13.4 seconds to go, James Yap buried the dagger triple that lifted San Mig Coffee past Barangay Ginebra, 79-76, in Game 5 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series on Saturday.
The Gin Kings were up by a thread, 76-75, following Chris Ellis’ jumper when Mark Barroca made a quick pass to Yap.
Yap immediately went for the go ahead looper and connected the triple, beating Mac Baracael’s defense in front of more than 20,000 screaming fans at the Big Dome.
LA Tenorio tried to salvage the game for the Kings but the Mixers were quick on their feet and forced him to miss his layup.
San Mig’s Justin Melton split his free throws on the other end to peg the final scores at 79-76.
It was a nip and tuck affair for both squads in the first three quarters. San Mig Coffee then started to pull away when Barroca and Melton teamed up for a potent 9-0 run that had Ginebra trailing 57-66.
Japeth Aguilar later rallied the Gin Kings to bring Ginebra within one point. Yap responded with an easy layup, but Chris Ellis fired a triple that knotted the scores 72-all.
The scores remained tied 74-all with 52 ticks to go, when Marc Pingris split his charities to give the Mixers a 75-74 breather.
Ellis jumper pushed the Kings ahead, 76-75, before Yap nailed his game winner.
Yap finished the game with 10 points, while Barroca top scored the Mixers with 14 points, four assists and three steals.
Air Force Ellis had 20 for Ginebra, while JayR Reyes added 11.
The victory gave San Mig Coffee a 3-2 series lead against Barangay Ginebra in their best-of-seven showdown. The Mixers now only need one win to set up a title clash with Rain or Shine.
Rain or Shine defeated Petron on Friday to seal their semis series, 4-1, and clinch the first finals berth.
San Mig Coffee 79 – Barroca 14, Pingris 12, Simon 10, Reavis 10, Yap 10, Mallari 8, Devance 7, Sangalang 6, Melton 2.
Ginebra 76 – Ellis 20, Reyes 11, Aguilar 9, Slaughter 9, Tenorio 9, Caguioa 6, Baracael 5, Helterbrand 5, Mamaril 2, Monfort 0, Urbiztondo 0.
Quarterscores: 21-21, 46-44, 62-57, 79-76