NSD alive and well as Ginebra forces KO game vs. Aces
Paul Lintag on Feb 05, 2017 09:48 PM
Sol Mercado accounted for two late Ginebra baskets as thr Gin Kings survive Alaska in Antipolo, forcing a knockout game back with a semifinal slot on the line.
Antipolo City --- The barangay worked its magic again.
Down by as much as 17 points, no. 7 Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel rode a big second-half effort to shock no. 2 Alaska, 85-81, in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals Sunday at the Ynares Center here.
After managing only 29 points in the first half, the Gin Kings exploded for 33 in the third period alone, outscoring the Aces by 20 points to completely erase a 33-50 disadvantage and go up 62-54 entering the final quarter.
Jvee Casio would carry the fight for Alaska in the final 12 minutes, cutting the Ginebra lead to two, 78-80, with a little over two minutes to go.
That's when things got wild.
First, Sol Mercado fed Kevin Ferrer for a nice baseline floater to give Ginebra a four-point lead. Moments later, Mercado took it upon himself to score another layup for what should have been a more comfortable 84-78 cushion with 44.8 seconds left.
After the Aces closed in, 81-84, the Gin Kings had the chance to ice the game with Mercado at the stripe for two.
He ended up missing both free throws before Japeth Aguilar grabbed a crucial offensive rebound to put LA Tenorio back to the line for another pair of charities.
Although Tenorio wound up only making one, it was enough for the Gin Kings to hold on, forcing a knockout game set for Tuesday at the Big Dome.
Tenorio finished with a team-high 16 points for Ginebra while Aguilar and Scottie Thompson scored 15 apiece. Mercado added 12.
"It was tough out there. Basically all we've done is just tie the series. Now it's all tied up, and that's what we had to do, we had to tie the series. So we just have another game. We're not gonna be happy about this one, we're not gonna be cheering or high-fiving. Because basically all we did was tie the series," head coach Tim Cone said.
Abueva led the Aces with 20 points and Casio came through for 16.
GINEBRA 85 - Tenorio 16, Thompson 15, Aguilar 15, Mercado 12, Devance 10, Marcelo 6, Helterbrand 5, Ferrer 2, Cruz 2, Caguioa 2, Ellis 0, Taha 0.
ALASKA 81 - Abueva 20, Casio 16, Thoss 9, Cruz 9, Manuel 9, Pascual 6, Hontiveros 6, Exciminiano 3, Racal 3, Magat 0, Mendoza 0, Galliguez 0, Jazul 0.
Quarterscores: 13-23, 29-41, 62-54, 85-81
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