VERNON Macklin scored a career-high 37 points, including the go-ahead basket to tow Barangay Ginebra to a heart-stopping 104-101 Game Four win over Talk ‘N Text that sent their PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinal playoff to a deciding fifth game.
Macklin defied Talk 'N Text's swarming defense by making 11 of 16 shots, grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing off four assists in a heroic performance before another huge pro-Ginebra crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The hard-working import also made the game's most important basket, hitting the semi-hook shot that broke the last deadlock at 99-all despite dragging his feet due to exhaustion in the thrilling endgame.
“I can’t say anything. The boys just didn’t quit,” said Barangay Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua.
Macklin, a 47.3 percent free-throw shooter, also made 15 of 19 attempts from the line (78.9 percent) as Ginebra levelled the best-of-five series at 2-all and set up a winner-take-all match on Sunday, also at the Big Dome.
The game was fiercely fought throughout, with Chua later expressing his disgust claiming some Talk ‘N Text players deliberately tried to hurt Macklin during the second half.
“Ryan Reyes was punching him (Macklin). I hope the refs call those cheap shots. Yung huli lang kasi, binayagan ni Ranidel (de Ocampo), tapos nag-head butt pa siya," said the pony-tailed Chua.
"But we’re gonna play hard, yet, we’re not gonna hurt like that na pantanggal ng career,” he added.
Tony Mitchell, playing just in his second game since replacing seven-footer Jerome Jordan, led the way with 45 points but missed five of his last six attempts, including a wide-open floater with 10 seconds left to play and Ginebra up by four points, 103-99.
Ryan Reyes scored with just 2.9 points left but time ran out on the Texters.
Mitchell also had eight of the Texters' 19 turnovers.
GINEBRA 104 - Macklin 37, Helterbrand 17, Tenorio 16, Ellis 13, Raymundo 12, Baracael 7, Hatfield 2, Espiritu 0, Urbiztondo 0.
TALK N' TEXT 101 - Mitchell 45, de Ocampo 12, Castro 7, Carey 7, Al-Hussaini 6, Reyes 6, Raymundo 4, Fonacier 4, Ferriols 4, Peek 4, Alvarez 2, Aban 0.
Quarterscores: 26-29, 65-55, 81-81, 104-101