MANILA – Philippine basketball legend Robert Jaworski gave the Barangay Ginebra Kings an emotional boost during the halftime break of their semi-final game against the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers Tuesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.
Ginebra was trailing, 41-50, at the half when “Jawo” entered the team dugout to fire up the squad and stir their “never say die” spirit.
“Malaking bagay ‘yung ginawa ni Coach Jaworski,” Ginebra head coach Ato Agustin told PBA.ph. “He entered the dugout at the half and tried to inspire our players.”
The Gin Kings responded to Jaworski’s inspirational message, as they rallied past the Coffee Mixers to win the game, 94-91, and force a do-or-die Game 7 in the PBA Philippine Cup semi-finals.
Ginebra guard LA Tenorio, whose blunder at the end of Game 5 helped seal the win for San Mig, bounced back with a 16-point performance.
“Coach Jawo told us to enjoy the game and give what our fans deserve,” Tenorio said after the game.
“(He) also noticed that we’re overeager. He told us to be a little patient, as we couldn’t overhaul a big deficit instantly,” Tenorio added. “He did inspire us.”
Mark Caguioa scored 21 points to lead all scorers, while rookie center Greg Slaughter added 20 points and 11 rebounds.
San Mig led by as much as 14 points as Ginebra came out flat to start the game, but Tenorio provided a spark in the third quarter as the Gin Kings kept it close.
Caguioa and Slaughter combined for a 6-0 blast that allowed Ginebra to take the lead, and James Yap missed a three at the buzzer that could have tied the game for San Mig.
Game 7 will be on Wednesday also at the Araneta Coliseum.