Barangay Ginebra labored its way into the quarterfinal round after snapping Petron Blaze’s six-game winning streak with a pulsating 91-89 win in the 2011-12 PBA Philippine Cup Friday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Mark Caguioa rebounded from poor performances in the past three games with 22 points and a crucial assist to Willy Wilson in the closing seconds for the go-ahead basket.
The Kings then forced Danny Ildefonso into a desperation heave that failed to hit the mark, as the Boosters fell to second place in the standings with a 9-4 win-loss slate.
“I can’t explain. Sometimes you really have to go through this kind of adversity for the character to come out,” said Ginebra coach Siot Tanquingcen.
“I thanked the players for putting up this effort especially Mark (Caguioa) who came out strong both on offense and defense.”
After averaging just seven points in the last three games, Caguioa broke out of his slump. It came at the right time for Ginebra, which secured a spot in the quarterfinals with a 6-5 win-loss slate.
After Ginebra pushed its lead to ten points, 81-71, the Boosters unloaded a 15-6 bomb capped by Joseph Yep’s three-point play off Ronald Tubid to slice the lead to one point with 2:36 remaining in the game.
After the teams exchanged empty possessions, Caguioa delivered a huge jumper to give the Kings an 89-86 cushion with 40 seconds left in the match.
But Alex Cabagnot, who had a monster game for Petron with 28 points, knotted the count with a three-pointer, with 27 seconds left.
Tanquingcen sued for a timeout and isolated Caguioa at the top of the key. The 2001 Rookie of the Year started to attack the defense of Alex Cabagnot, before flipping a pass to a wide-open Wilson inside the shaded lane. The former La Salle forward scored and was fouled by Yeo.
Wilson missed the bonus shot, but his earlier basket gave the Kings a 91-89 lead with 5.5 seconds left in the game.
The Boosters had the chance to tie or win the game, but Ronald Tubid denied Cabagnot the ball from Ildefonso, who was forced to shoot way beyond the three-point line.
“I just told the players to stay in front of somebody,” said Tanquingcen. “Okay lang two points at least may chance sa overtime huwag lang three-points.”
Tubid had 16 points highlighted by four three-pointers while Villanueva added 14. Wilson also had a solid game with six points and 14 boards.
GINEBRA 91 – Caguioa 22, Tubid 16, Villanueva 14, Cortez 12, Intal 8, Wilson W. 6, Mamaril 6, Canaleta 5, Labagala 2, Wilson J. 0.
PETRON 89 – Cabagnot 28, Santos 14, Miranda 14, Reyes 11, Ildefonso 8, Yeo 7, Tugade 7, Doruelo 0, Agustin 0, Baclao 0, Sharma 0.
Quarters: 20-16, 43-37, 71-65, 91-89