The Gin Kings are alive.
Barangay Ginebra came through with clutch plays down the stretch to pull off a 73-71 escape over Talk ‘N Text in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals Wednesday night at the jampacked SMART Araneta Coliseum to force a do-or-die match on Friday against B-MEG for the second finals berth.
Kerby Raymundo drilled a huge three-pointer from the top of the key before Cedric Bozeman forced Paul Harris to a crucial turnover in the Tropang Texters’ potential game-tying play to help seal the Gin Kings’ victory.
Ginebra finished the semis with a 9-5 win-loss mark, tying the Llamados for second place.
“Talk ‘N Text is a proud champion team. Mahirap talaga makipag-compete sa kanila. They are relentless and we have to be that way also,” said Ginebra coach Siot Tanquingcen.
“I think our players showed the heart of Ginebra basketball team.”
Mark Caguioa led the Gin Kings with 18 points while Raymundo added 15, including a buzzer-beater three-pointer that gave them a 73-69 cushion with exactly three minutes remaining.
After Paul Harris converted on a drive to push the Tropang Texters within two points, the Philippine Cup champions had the chance to tie or take the lead after Ginebra was whistled for a 24-shot clock violation with 15.9 seconds remaining.
But Harris, tightly guarded by Bozeman, stepped on the baseline, giving the possession back to the Kings with 3.9 seconds left.
In the ensuing play for Ginebra, Willy Wilson took the inbound pass and threw the ball in the air as time expired.
“We are content with what we have but we cannot be contended of what we can become,” said Tanquingcen as they face the Llamados in a do-or-die game in Friday at 6:45 p.m. also at the Big Dome.
Harris paced all scorers with 25 points but his efforts went down the drain as Talk ‘N Text’s streak of five straight finals appearances ended last night.
It was also coach Chot Reyes’ last game with the Tropang Texters. He is scheduled to take over the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national program, with current consultant and Ateneo coach Norman Black taking over the Talk ‘N Text job next season.
Source: Kris Lagman, InterAKTV