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    'Big Macs' Macklin and Mac Baracael save Ginebra from endgame collapse

    Apr 7, 2013
    Vernon Macklin celebrate with teammates while diehard fans cheer at the end of the win. Jerome Ascano

    BARANGAY Ginebra turned to Vernon Macklin to avoid a late-game collapse as it escaped with a 91-90 victory over Meralco on Sunday night to clinch a quarterfinal berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    Mac Baracael also put on a torrid fourth-quarter show, but it was the Kings import who preserved the victory by scoring the go-ahead basket with less than eight seconds remaining as the Kings tied the day’s earlier winner Petron at 7-5 (win-loss) for a share of third place.

    The Kings, who extended their winning streak to six games without injured superstar Mark Caguioa, even have a chance to move further up in the standings for one of the top two spots that come with a twice-to-beat edge in the playoffs if they win their last two games.

    “Dati, I was really scared of not making the quarterfinals. Nobody could’ve imagined na ngayon nakapasok na kami,” said Kings coach Alfrancis Chua, whose team started the import-flavored conference with four straight losses.

    Baracael, the sophomore swingman acquired from Alaska, delivered his best game in a Ginebra uniform as he fired 10 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, including a driving layup that gave his squad an 89-81 lead with two minutes and 26 seconds remaining in the game.

    The cushion was almost put to waste after the Bolts mounted a comeback led by three-point assassin Sunday Salvacion, who scored all his nine points — all from beyond the arc — in the payoff period.

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    Salvacion’s last triple gave the Bolts their last lead at 90-89 with 12.9 seconds to go, setting the stage for Macklin’s heroics.

    “This is for the Ginebra team, hindi talaga sumusuko,” Chua said. “Grabe. Sa tagal kong nagco-coach, ngayon lang ako nakakita ng mga batang ganito.”

    The Bolts fell to 6-6 for fifth place.

    The scores:

    GINEBRA 91 - Macklin 31, Baracael 17, Tenorio 17, Labagala 10, Hatfield 10, Ellis 4, Jensen 2, Espiritu 0, Maierhofer 0, Mamaril 0, Helterbrand 0, Raymundo 0.

    MERALCO 90 - Dawson 27, Buenafe 19, Ross 11, Cardona 10, Salvacion 9, Hugnatan 6, Hodge 4, Timberlake 4, Vanlandingham 0, Reyes 0.

    Quarterscores: 18-24, 44-43, 71-64, 91-90

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    Vernon Macklin celebrate with teammates while diehard fans cheer at the end of the win. Jerome Ascano
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