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Ginebra rallies from 17 points down to force do-or-die against Alaska

Scottie Thompson sparks Ginebra in the third quarter and they force a rubber match for a semis slot against Alaska

ONE MORE GAME. Scottie Thompson sparks Ginebra in the third quarter and they force a rubber match for a semis slot against Alaska. Photo from PBA Images

Ginebra stays alive in the 2017 Philippine Cup after forcing a quarterfinals rubber match against Alaska

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel bucked early offensive struggles, coming alive in the third quarter to come back from 17 points down and defeat the twice-to-beat Alaska Aces, 85-81, in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday, February 5 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Needing two wins to reach the semifinals, the Gin Kings forced the do-or-die quarterfinals contest against the second seed Aces after a massive 29-4 run to overturn the deficit and finish the third quarter up by 8.

The physical and emotionally charged contest saw Alaska coming to within a point with under 5 minutes remaining as veteran marksmen from both sides buried one big shot after another.

But 23-year-old Scottie Thompson, who sparked that third quarter rally, connected on a trey for the 4-point cushion, 80-76, as Ginebra held on for another “Never Say Die” kind of victory.

Tough game to play, tough game to officiate, it was tough out there,” said head coach Tim Cone. “All we’ve done is just tie the series. We’re not gonna be happy about this one, we’re not gonna be cheering or high-fiving because all we did was tie the series.”

At this point, in my mind, honestly, this game is gone already. I’m already thinking next game, I’m not even looking back on this one,” he added.

LA Tenorio finished with a team-high 16 points with 6 assists but he had 5 turnovers as he strived hard to get his team into a good fly in the first 24 minutes.

Thompson successfully facilitated the Gin Kings midway in the third period, where they came alive after Joe Devance, who chipped in 10 points, left the game after a bad fall. The broadcast report later said he felt extreme pain when putting weight on his left heel.

Sol Mercado wound up with 12 markers as he finally arrested Ginebra’s three-point dryspell at the start of a 21-0 third quarter surge with back-to-back triples. Before his treys, Ginebra missed all 10 of its prior attempts.

Mercado, who made every effort even on the defensive end, also had 6 assists. Japeth Aguilar came up with a double-double of 15 points and 14 rebounds plus 3 blocks.

“Our guys battled all the way through, sometimes we battled each other,” Cone said. “We did what we had to do to stay alive and keep kicking. It was an intense game for everybody.”

Meanwhile, Alaska had a fired up Calvin Abueva leading the way with 20 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, two blocks, and an abundance of the on-court antics he normally unleashes to rile up Ginebra’s crowd.

Despite Abueva’s boundless energy, Alaska failed to contain the humming Ginebra in the payoff period. JVee Casio was the only other player in double digits with 16 points and 5 assists with 4-of-8 shooting from deep.

The rubber match will take place on Tuesday, February 7.

Scores:

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.

Quarter scores: 13-23, 29-41, 62-54, 85-81. – Jane Bracher/Rappler.com

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