SAN Mig Super Coffee’s experience was the major factor that went its way in the Mixers’ thrilling 85-83 win over Barangay Ginebra in the opener of their PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series Tuesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Experienced na sila (Mixers) sa ganitong sitwasyon kasi pagdating sa playoff series, talagang mahirap silang talunin,” admitted Ginebra star playmaker LA Tenorio after the Game 1 loss.
Sophomore guard Mark Barroca made the win possible as he connected on a jumper in the waning seconds of Game 1 of the best-of-seven series.
Tenorio actually had an opportunity to turn Ginebra’s fortune in the ensuing play, but his top-of-the-key three-point attempt off Barroca’s outstretched arms went hard off the iron.
San Mig power forward Marc Pingris came down with the crucial defensive rebound to practically seal the outcome of the tightly-fought match.
“Di ko alam eh pero it’s (Game One) a good game. Talagang breaks of the game lang,” noted the 29-year-old pride of Batangas.
Tenorio, who led Ginebra with 16 points and six assists, said San Mig coach Tim Cone’s championship experience obviously had a hand in the win owing to his ability to come up with “surprises”.
“Si coach Tim, matagal din ako naglaro sa kanya. Alam ko marami siyang baon pagdating sa ganyan,” Tenorio said, referring to his former coach known for his vast playoff experience.
The Ginebra playmaker bared he found it unusual for Cone to play rookie guard Justin Melton for a long stretch of the final period, a time usually reserved for either veteran starters Peter June Simon or James Yap.
Melton, the high-leaping 5-foot-10 guard out of Mt. Olive College, made an impact in his 20-minute stint in the game, firing seven of his eight points in the final period.
His three-point bomb at the three-minute mark even gave San Mig an 80-75 lead, capping off a telling 7-2 run by the Mixers .
“Imagine? Pinapahinga niya (Cone) pa si PJ at James, though alam naman natin na they (Mixers) are coming from a very tough series against Talk ‘N Text. So kami, we really just have to be ready (come Game Two),” he said.
Ginebra will try to equalize the series when Game Two of the series resumes on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.