BARANGAY Ginebra honored its former player-coach with a rally that felt like a throwback to the team's glory days with Robert Jaworski, frustrating sister squad Petron Blaze, 87-85, on Sunday night in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals.
On a night when the Living Legend’s No. 7 jersey was raised to the rafters, Cedric Bozeman hit the go-ahead teardrop with three-tenths of a second left that delighted Ginebra fans from the crowd of 15,098 that trooped to the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“I don’t know if it's coincidence, but God couldn’t have written a better script on a night when we’re celebrating one of the foundations of Ginebra,” Ginebra coach Siot Tanquingcen said.
The never-say-die attitude that Jaworski's teams embodied in the past again surfaced for the Kings as they came back from a double-digit deficit at the end of the third quarter.
Before Bozeman’s heroics, it was Mark Caguioa and Dylan Ababou who spearheaded the Kings’ fourth-quarter fightback. Caguioa scored eight of his game-high 25 points in the fourth, while Ababou scored on a three-point play that made it 85-83 for the Kings with 24.3 seconds left.
Alex Cabagnot, one of the league’s best closers, retaliated for the Boosters in the next play as the southpaw playmaker scored on a right-handed layup to knot the count once more.
Bozeman, who had 13 points and 11 boards, then sealed the deal for the Kings in the ensuing possession with a basket off a broken play that was plotted for Caguioa.
“That wasn’t supposed to be the play, but great players make great plays,” Tanquingcen said.
The Kings improved to 7-4, while the Boosters fell to 6-5.
Prior to Bozeman’s last-second shot, Chris Lutz, Faison, and Don Don Hontiveros also hit buzzer-beaters at the end of the first three quarters as Petron kept the game under control.
GINEBRA 87 - Caguioa 25, Bozeman 13, Ababou 13, Maierhofer 10, Villanueva 8, Raymundo 8, Helterbrand 4, Cortez 3, Hatfield 3, Maliksi 0, Wilson W. 0, Mamaril 0.
PETRON 85 - Faison 19, Lutz 17, Washington 11, Hontiveros 11, Santos 9, Yeo 6, Cabagnot 6, Pena 4, Miranda 2, Reyes 0, Ildefonso 0.
Quarter scores: 15-26, 34-42, 58-69, 87-85