MANILA, Philippines – Often the smallest man on the floor, San Mig point guard Mark Barroca has stood tall for the Coffee Mixers in their battle against the Petron Blaze Boosters in the 2013 PBA Governors Cup Finals.
With the best-of-seven series tied at two games apiece, it was Barroca who showed the way for San Mig in Game Five as he tied his career high with 22 points and added 10 assists, leading the Mixers to a 114-103 victory that brought them to within a win of the title.
Barroca also shone on the other end of the floor, even defending Petron import Elijah Millsap and forcing turnovers.
“Mark’s defense on Millsap was out of this world,” San Mig head coach Tim Cone said after the game. “To see a 5-foot-8 guy playing a 6-foot-5 (guy), and playing him well.”
Millsap still scored 37 points, but shot only 10 of 25 from the field. He also dished out only two assists, his lowest of the series.
Speaking to Alder Almo of PhilStar, Barroca said he was working hard to make up for his lack of height.
“Alam ko naman na maliit ako, kaya dinadaan ko sa hard work, at pinu-push ko sarili ko sa practice,” he said.
“PBA ito eh, alam ko naman na lahat ng mga best players nandito, kaya kailangan humugot ako ng lakas dahil bihira lang makatuntong dito,” he added.
Barroca also played well in Game Four, scoring 12 points and hitting key free throws down the stretch that allowed San Mig to escape with an 88-86 victory after squandering a 28-point lead.
Although Barroca shone the brightest, several heroes also stepped up for the Coffee Mixers in Game Five. Import Marqus Blakely had 30 points and 15 rebounds, and teamed up with Barroca to rally San Mig from a 12-point deficit in the second period.
Former league MVP James Yap, meanwhile, hit big shots in the final quarter to squash a final Petron rally.