MARC Pingris and playmaker Mark Barroca spearheaded San Mig Super Coffee’s frenetic finish against Talk `N Text for a 90-82 win to end the Tropang Texters’ reign as PBA Philippine Cup champion on Sunday night at the Astrodome.
Pingris scored five straight points while Barroca, who finished with a double-double of 18 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, dished off an assist to Joe Devance for the finishing touches in their do-or-die encounter for the last semifinal berth of the All-Filipino conference.
The Mixers won the best-of-three quarterfinal series, 2-1, and will meet top seed Barangay Ginebra Kings in an explosive semifinals showdown.
“I thought the game turned when we were able to get them (Tropang Texters) in early penalty. They couldn’t pressure us anymore and that kind of allowed us to do the offense the way we want to do it,” said San Mig coach Tim Cone, who steered the franchise to the semifinals for the sixth straight conference.
While Barroca, Devance, and Pingris played courageously against Talk ‘N Text’s bruising veterans, Cone said he was happy to see his “secret weapon” in rookie Justin Melton explode in the final game of the quarterfinals.
“Our secret weapon tonight is Justin. He was really the key for us. He hit big shots and made big stops. He gave us a whole new dimension,” added Cone, who is looking forward to the team’s semifinal series against the Kings.
Credit also goes to the San Mig team’s airtight defense, which held Talk ‘N Text scoreless in the final two-and-a-half minutes of the match.
Ranidel de Ocampo’s three-point shot with 2:31 to go, knotted the score one last time at 82-all, before San Mig made its move in the end to knock the defending champion Talk ‘N Text out of its pedestal.
“Our guys worked hard for it (win). I’m real proud of our guys right now. I mean, going back from our 1-5 start and be at the top four is really great,” he added.
Overall, San Mig’s defense held Talk ‘N Text to just 34.6 percent from the field.
Barroca, the team’s leading scorer this conference, added five assists and two steals, while Devance finished with 14 points. Pingris added 13 and nine boards, while Melton finished with a career-high 12 points, all coming from three-point territory.
De Ocampo led the Tropang Texters with 22 points, spiked by four three-point conversions, while Castro added 15.
The diminutive Castro only scored four points in the second half as he struggled to get through the defense of Barroca.
San Mig 90 - Barroca 18, Devance 14, Pingris 13, Melton 12, Simon 10, Mallari 8, Yap 8, Sangalang 7, De Ocampo 0, Reavis 0.
Talk 'N Text 82 - De Ocampo 22, Castro 15, Canaleta 13, Seigle 8, Alapag 6, Williams 5, Fonacier 5, Carey 5, Reyes R. 3, Aban 0, Peek 0, Reyes J. 0, Baclao 0.
Quarterscores: 20-21, 42-40, 61-60, 90-82