Popovich lauds 'stud' Ginobili after throwback game, game-saving block on Harden
Manu Ginobili, 39, saved the day for the Spurs by blocking James Harden's last-gasp three-point shot from behind. AP

MANU Ginobili’s big-time gamble paid off with a win-clinching block as the San Antonio Spurs escaped with a 110-107 overtime victory over the Houston Rockets in Game 5 of their West semis series on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time).

Danny Green took charge of the San Antonio offense down the stretch in OT, scoring the Spurs’ final seven points, including the three-point play that put them ahead with a little over 15 seconds left.

But it was Ginobili who stood out the most, as it was his two assists that set up Green’s heroics before he made the biggest play of the game - a block from behind on Harden’s three-point attempt to force another extra period.

The 39-year-old guard knew he got beat by Harden yet gambled on going for the block, knowing what was at stake.

“It was a risky play, but it was risky to let him shoot, so I took my chances,” Ginobili said.

[See Green, Ginobili take charge with Leonard out, lead Spurs to OT win over Rockets]

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was in awe of his veteran sixth-man’s performance throughout the game after the Argentinian guard finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, five assists and one highlight-worthy slam with two minutes left in the first half.

“Manu reached back and gave us one of his Manu performances from past years. He was a stud,” said Popovich.

One dampener, though, to the Spurs moving a win away from facing the Golden State Warriors in the conference finals is the status of Kawhi Leonard, who sat out in overtime with an injured ankle.

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