MARK Barroca paired brilliantly with rookie backcourt mate Justin Melton in a critical fourth-quarter run to lead San Mig Super Coffee to a huge 97-89 win over Barangay Ginebra and a 2-1 lead in their PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series on Sunday at the jampacked Mall of Asia Arena.
The cat-quick Barroca banged in 15 of his career-high 25 points in the second half, including a 25-foot three-point conversion against LA Tenorio to cap off a vicious 20-10 exchange with under two minutes to go in the final period that gave the Mixers a 93-82 lead.
The Gin Kings never got to mount a late-game rally, allowing the Mixers to bounce back from a 29-point Game Two loss and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“I guess we deserved a good game. I mean, to get beaten badly the last game, the guys got character to start strong, and go out and match the energy of Ginebra,” said San Mig coach Tim Cone.
The Mixers took an early 15-point lead in the first period but found themselves trailing later on, 62-66 in the third period behind Gin Kings slotman Greg Slaughter’s dominant plays in the shaded lane.
Cone said he was happy to draw the much-needed energy from Barroca and Melton, who used his leaping ability and quickness to anchor several fastbreak plays for the Mixers. He finished with six points.
The 6-11 Slaughter finished with a career-high 29 points, but he could only score four points in the critical final period, after playing a total of 41 minutes in Game Three.
Mark Caguioa and LA Tenorio added 21 and 14 points, respectively for Ginebra, while Japeth Aguilar had a quiet 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Peter June Simon, San Mig’s most consistent player in the series, added 19 points while Marc Pingris finished with a double-double of 15 and 12 boards while holding Aguilar to a frigid 3-of-11 shooting from the field.
Game Four is set on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum with San Mig looking to grab a commanding 3-1 series lead.
San Mig 97 - Barroca 25, Simon 19, Pingris 15, Yap 13, Devance 8, Reavis 7, Melton 6, Mallari 2, Sangalang 2, De Ocampo 0
Ginebra 89 - Slaughter 29, Caguioa 21, Tenorio 14, Aguilar 12, Baracael 7, Ellis 3, Helterbrand 2, Mamaril 1, Ababou 0, Monfort 0
Quarterscores: 25-17, 46-47, 71-68, 97-89