Ginebra frustrates Star, forces knockout Game 7

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Feb 19, 2017 09:01 PM
Ginebra frustrates Star, forces knockout Game 7
HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIDE. Joe DeVance and Tim Cone have become the biggest thorns on the side of their former team Star.

The last time Star was in the championship round, Joe DeVance was one of the reasons why.

Now in the 2016-2017 PBA Philippine Cup, he is turning out to be one of the reasons why the Hotshots are having a hard time making their way back.

DeVance scored every single one of his 14 points in the third quarter where Ginebra separated itself from the Hotshots en route to a 91-67 blowout on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.

Sol Mercado then put the finishing touches with 12 points in the final frame to help the Gin Kings set up a do-or-die Game 7 against their archrivals. “My guys have shown great resilience and resolve the whole conference. So many times, we could have quit and they said no,” a proud coach Tim Cone said.

Mercado wound up with a game-high 21 points and was backstopped by LA Tenorio who scored 19 of his own.

All but one of Cone’s starters were in double-digits and even seldom-used end-of-bench players Paolo Taha and Jammer Jamito chipped in two points apiece.

Still, it was the 34-year-old who, without a doubt, was the driving force who swung the momentum in Ginebra’s favor. Behind by four in the middle of the third, his eight unanswered points started the 12-4 surge that then became a 60-52 advantage.

The Gin Kings would not let go of the lead until the final buzzer. “Joe was an inspiration for us in the third quarter,” Cone expressed post-game, talking about the seasoned veteran whom he has been with for the last decade.

Both Devance and Cone were key cogs in Star’s, then known as San Mig Coffee, last All-Filipino championship back in 2014.

Marc Pingris had 14 points to lead the Hotshots in the losing effort.

The decider in the Manila Clasico semifinals series is on Tuesday at the MOA Arena.

BOX SCORES

GINEBRA 91 - Mercado 21, Tenorio 19, Devance 14, Aguilar 11, Cruz 11, Ferrer 6, Taha 3, Jamito 2, Thompson 2, Helterbrand 1, Ellis 1, Caguioa 0, Mariano 0, Marcelo 0.

STAR 67 - Pingris 14, Barroca 13, Maliksi 9, Lee 8, Ramos 6, Melton 4, Jalalon 4, Reavis 4, Sangalang 3, Brondial 2, Abundo 0, Dela Rosa 0, Simon 0.

QUARTER SCORES: 25-22, 38-39, 62-54, 91-67

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