PLAYING with more urgency, San Mig Coffee turned its huge advantage in size and depth into a sound 78-68 beating of a disoriented Barangay Ginebra San Miguel squad on Sunday night in the main game of a PBA Philippine Cup triple bill at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Joe Devance presided over the Mixers’ easy win over the Gin Kings, banging in four triples en route to an 18-point, five-rebound output to help extend San Mig Coffee’s winning streak to three while extending the losing spell of the league's most popular club to five games.
The Mixers also turned up their defense a notch as they improved to 5-2 overall, forcing a three-way logjam for second place with idle Alaska and Rain or Shine, which earlier drubbed Meralco, 106-81.
“We played a great defensive game tonight. I think they (Gin Kings) shot themselves in the foot a few times when they missed some layups,” said San Mig Coffee head coach Tim Cone.
Compounding the Gin Kings’ woes was the injury of guard Dylan Ababou, who felt something pop on his right knee late in the first quarter. He was expected to be brought to St. Luke’s Medical Center to have his knee checked for a possible torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).
Ababou, the former University of Santo Tomas star, joined Kerby Raymundo (flu) on the Kings' growing injured list. Allein Maliksi was also reported to be nursing an injured ankle, though he suited up in the game.
The Mixers’ defense threw the Gin Kings out of their supposed running game. The crowd favorite had a total of 23 turnovers, with key players Mark Caguioa, LA Tenorio and Chris Ellis, contributing four turnovers each.
Overall the Gin Kings shot just 35.8 percent (29-of-81) as the Mixers were all over them from start to finish.
Ginebra fans from the sellout crowd numbering 19,781 that came to witness the first confrontation between San Mig Coffee and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel this season started heading for the exits with still a couple of minutes left in the non-contest.
“I felt that we’ve been trying to win the game with our offense and with our talent. Now, we’re putting emphasis on defense. That’s what we try to instill in everybody, and take pride in being a defensive team first,” added Cone.
The Gin Kings fell to 2-5, in the company of Air21, just one rung above cellar-dweller Globalport (1-7). The fifth loss in a row was the team's longest losing streak since it lost the same number of matches during the 2009 Fiesta Conference.
San Mig Coffee had three other players scoring in double-figures. James Yap finished with 14, PJ Simon 13 and Marc Pingris 11, along with nine rebounds.
Mark Caguioa led Barangay Ginebra with 16 points while Tenorio added 12.
San Mig Coffee 78 - Devance 18, Yap 14, Simon 13, Pingris 11, De Ocampo 7, Barroca 6, Reavis 4, Villanueva 3, Intal 2, Gonzales 0
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel 68 - Caguioa 16, Tenorio 12, Ellis 11, Jensen 8, Mamaril 7, Maierhofer 6, Cortez 6, Ababou 2, Espiritu 0, Wilson 0, Hatfield 0
Quarterscores: 15-8, 41-29, 61-45, 78-68