MARC Pingris and Mark Barroca came alive in overtime as San Mig outlasted Talk 'N Text in a fiercely fought match, 92-88, on Thursday night to take a 1-0 lead in their PBA Governors Cup semifinal series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Pingris hit two big baskets while Barroca made another when the Mixers finally took the fight out of Talk 'N Text in extra time to complete the heroics of second-stringer Allein Maliksi, who made the late three-pointer to complete a comeback from 11-points down in regulation.
Maliksi, who sat out most of the season due to an ACL injury and was only in the game late in regulation because James Yap was nursing an injury, hit a three-pointer from the deep left corner to knot the score at 77-all with 21.2 seconds left in regulation.
The gutsy win, fashioned out without injured starter PJ Simon, gave the Mixers early control of the best-of-five semifinal series and pulled the former Purefoods franchise within five wins of only the fifth grand slam in the pro league's 39-year history.
“We just kinda battled and stayed in the game. Down in overtime, we just tried to pound the ball inside, get baskets and fouls, create opportunities for ourselves,” said San Mig coach Tim Cone.
Cone admitted that without the team’s second-leading scorer Simon, plus the late-game foot injury suffered by Yap andthe back problem of Joe Devance in overtime, the Mixers were just happy to get the offense from everybody else.
“Overall was a scattered performance by us because we didn’t play well in the first 36 minutes, while we missed PJ Simon, lost James later, during the last half of the (fourth) quarter, and I don’t know exactly how serious it is,” the multi-titled San Mig mentor said.
“Joe left the floor with back spasms in overtime, so we’re just a team in attrition right now, just try to battle our way in. But guys are doing a great job, battling and grinding,” he added.
Cone said he is not sure if Simon will play while Yap and Devance will still be evaluated as well.
Marqus Blakely led the Mixers with 20 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks, while Yap added 13 before leaving the game with still more than six minutes to go in the fourth period.
Barroca added 11 while Maliksi and Pingris finished with 10 each in a balanced scoring attack.
Castro led the Texters with 24 points while Ranidel de Ocampo had 19 and 13 boards.
Import Paul Harris had a quiet night marked by 17 points, going just 5-of-19 from the floor as he struggled against Blakely’s defense.
San Mig 92 - Blakely 20, Yap 13, Barroca 11, Maliksi 10, Pingris 10, Devance 9, Sangalang 9, Mallari 6, Melton 4, Reavis 0.
Talk 'N Text 88 - Castro 24, De Ocampo 19, Harris 17, Williams 9, Alapag 5, Fonacier 4, Baclao 4, Reyes 3, Canaleta 3, Carey 0.
Quarterscores: 18-22, 39-40, 62-65, 77-77, 92-88