GINEBRA TAKES GAME 2, FORGES SUDDEN-DEATH SUNDAY vs. SMB
Tubid, Menk-led Kings survive career-high 35-point onslaught from Hontiveros to even series
Injury-depleted, bruised and battered.
Notwithstanding their terrible state of health, the Barangay Ginebra Kings aren't ready to wave the white flag and walk away silently.
Ronald Tubid scored 19 points, including his team's last six markers as Barangay Ginebra recovered in time for 91-88 come-from-behind victory against San Miguel Beer in Game 2 of their KFC PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinal series Friday night at the Cuneta Astrodome.
What the Kings accomplished in Game 2 was close to a miracle. They seemed to have already lost the battle when they blew a huge 18-point third quarter lead and trailed the Beermen by three (85-82) with 1:58 remaining.
But they displayed remarkable character that only champions possess. The reigning Fiesta Conference titlists never gave up in the face of tremendous odds and were rewarded with another lease on life.
"We just survived the series," said Barangay Ginebra coach Jong Uichico, who gave all the credit to his troops.
"Who else would you give the credit to?" he asked. "With all the distractions, injuries and all, my players never walked away from the challenges. I just hope we can hold on."
The deciding Game 3 is set Sunday also at the Cuneta Astrodome. The winner will advance to the best-of-7 semifinals against second seed Talk N Text.
Jayjay Helterbrand and Eric Menk had 15 points apiece and Sunday Salvacion added 10 for the Kings, who went 13-for-35 from the 3-point arc.
Barangay Ginebra, which has now won its last three do-or-die games dating back to last season, seized the momentum in the second period by closing the quarter with a 12-3 run that gave the Kings a 48-41 lead at halftime.
With the Beermen committing one turnover after the other that kept them scoreless in the first five minutes of the third, the Kings appeared ready to coast to victory.
That became imminent when Paul Artadi (six points,five assists) nailed a 3-pointer that gave the crowd favorites a comfortable 61-43 advantage with 6:09 left in the third.
But as quickly as they surged to that biggest lead of the game, the Kings lost their rhythm in no time even as Dondon Hontiveros, SMB's ace shotmaker, started to warm up and hit a string of baskets that included three treys signaling a fierce rally by the Beermen.
The Best Player of the Game in San Miguel Beers Game 1 win, Hontiveros shot the lights out in the last 24 minutes of play of Game 2 and was at his deadliest late in the fourth that saw him score 10 straight points as SMB stormed ahead, 85-82 with 1:58 left to play.
But the Kings were far from finish.
Junjun Cabatu answered with a three to tie the count. After Dorian Pena sandwich a basket by Tubid with a free throw and followed-up a shot for a one-point SMB lead, Junthy Valenzuela scored on a drive and Tubid hit a technical free throw to put Barangay Ginebra back in front, 90-88, with 32 seconds left.
SMB had a chance to tie but Pena missed on two crucial attempts.
Hontiveros led all scorers with a career-high 35 points and Danny Seigle added 12 for the Beermen. (DBC)
Barangay Ginebra 91 - Tubid 19, Helterbrand 15, Menk 15, Salvacion 11, Valenzuela 9, Mamaril 8, Artadi 6, Wilson 5, Cabatu 3, Escalona 0, Pacana 0, Crisano 0.
San Miguel Beer 88 - Hontiveros 35, Seigle 12, Pena 10, Custodio 9, Tugade 9, Pingris 4, Washington 3, Gonzales 3, Racela 2, Pennisi 1.
Quarterscores: 22-26, 48-41, 70-63, 91-88.