MARK Barroca preserved James Yap’s fourth-quarter heroics with three pressure-packed free throws in the dying seconds to power San Mig Coffee to a pulsating 82-78 over Globalport on Friday night in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Ice-cold for three quarters, Yap came alive in the final period to lead the Mixers' fightback from a 15-point deficit with a barrage of jumpers and fallaway shots against single coverage by either Josh Vanlandingham or Mark Yee.
His 11th straight point in the final period with 38 seconds to play came on a jumper off Yee’s outstretched arms that gave San Mig the lead for good at 79-78.
Globalport team leader Willie Miller matched Yap basket for basket in the final quarter but in the end, his miss on a driving layup over San Mig defender Marc Pingris sealed the Batang Pier’s third straight defeat.
Globalport remains at the bottom of the standings with a 1-6 record, behind 1-5 Air21.
“It’s not easy, never was. It seems like right now, there are just a lot teams out there, whom you just can’t walk out of the court and win it,” said a relieved Tim Cone after the Mixers moved into a three-way tie for second place with idle Rain or Shine and Alaska at 4-2.
Cone made special mention of Pingris who shadowed the smaller Miller during the final period.
Though Miller scored nine of his 19 points in the final period to lead Globalport again in scoring, the shifty veteran guard had to earn every point against Pingris.
“He’s just a guy who, when we need to change the tempo, it doesn’t matter what position he’ll guard, Ping will come out and do it. He gets excited with his game when he thinks of who he’ll guard. So when we put him on Willie, everything changed, even his offense changed because he gets really challenged,” said Cone.
It was a sorry loss for the Batang Pier, who midway in the third period appeared poised to end their losing slump after erecting a 47-32 lead behind the efforts of Miller and rookie forward Vic Manuel.
But as in the previous games, the Batang Pier eventually succumbed to pressure in the endgame, wasting their double-digit lead via turnovers or bad execution.
“Para sa akin, breaks of the game pa rin. Tinitingnan ko mula jump ball, kasi gusto ko maging consistent ang team. Kahit ganito record namin, di ako nahihiya, kasi alam ko maganda tinatakbo ang team," said Capacio.
"Yun lang, paano matutunan ang game ng mabilis. Before, we played good basketball for 45 minutes, ngayon 47 na. Sana mas mapabilis ang pag improve,” explained Capacio, whose team continues to miss injured mainstays Gary David and Jondan Salvador.
Pingris led the Mixers with a double-double effort of 17 points and 16 rebounds, while Yap added 16.
San Mig Coffee (82) - Pingris 17, Yap 16, Simon 15, Barroca 11, Devance 11, De Ocampo 4, Ramos 2, Villanueva 2, Gonzales 2, Reavis 2
Globalport (78) – Miller 19, Manuel 17, Deutchman 7, Antonio 7, Mandani 6, Guevara 6, Vanlandingham 5, Adducul 4, Vergara 3, Al-Hussaini 2, Yee 2, Cruz 0
Quarterscores: 13-19, 30-38, 50-58, 82-78