By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
SEIZING control of their best-of-seven Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup finals series after winning back-to-back games, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings now try to complete the dethronement of defending champions San Miguel Beermen in Game Six today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Winners in Games Four and Five, the Kings go for the clincher in the scheduled 7 p.m. game that would hand them their third PBA title in six conferences and 11th championship overall while frustrating the Beermen, also the Philippine Cup champions, in their repeat aspirations and Grand Slam hopes.
Barangay Ginebra overtook San Miguel in the series when it was able to dig deep in the end and pull a huge win in Game Five, 87-83, on Sunday.
Down by three points, 83-80, with two minutes remaining in the game, the Kings went on a 7-0 run the rest of the way to carve the path to victory.
Do-it-all guard Scottie Thompson stepped up for Barangay Ginebra down the stretch, scoring six of the final seven points of the Kings to make the win possible.
Barangay Ginebra also held it down on defense, making it hard for San Miguel to execute its offense as it tried to salvage the victory.
The slim Game Five victory of Barangay Ginebra was a complete change in the series that saw blowouts in the first four games.
Mr. Thompson led the Kings with 20 points and 11 rebounds in Game Five with import Justin Brownlee adding 18 points.
For San Miguel it was import Renaldo Balkman who led with 34 points and 20 rebounds while big man June Mar Fajardo finished with 23 points and 11 boards.
For winning coach Tim Cone, defense played a huge part in the victory even as he gave credit to Mr. Thompson for stepping up in the end.
“It’s about defense. It’s about making stops. It’s a tough defensive battle and that’s what I like. It’s 40-all at the half, and that’s the kind of game we wanted to play. We pulled it off,” Mr. Cone said.
“Scottie played great for us. He was doing everything. He reminded me of Russell Westbrook [of the Oklahoma City Thunder]. He is becoming a complete player,” he added.
NOT GIVING UP
While they are down in the series, the Beermen are not about to give up and vowed to come back better in Game Six.
“Though we lost, I’m proud of the way my team played. I thought we would win the game but we didn’t get the breaks in the end,” San Miguel coach Leo Austria said.
“We’re not losing hope. I expect the players to bounce back on Wednesday. There is no room to be down at this point. We have to be positive, be focused and give our all to extend the series,” he added.
-- Taken from Businessworld --