2013-2014 PBA Philippine Cup Roundup: January 25-26, 2014

The 2013-2014 PBA Philippine Cup closed its quarterfinal round this weekend with a pair of great games. This past Saturday, the Gin Kings were at their best in disposing of pesky Alaska, while the Mixers had to go through the wringer in their rubber match against Talk N Text last night.

This past Saturday, Ginebra blasted Alaska, 108-95 This time, the Gin Kings weren’t in the mood to dilly-dally. Coach Ato Agustin’s wards came out guns blazing, scoring 39 points in the first quarter alone, while holding the upset-conscious Aces to a pedestrian 21 markers. Ginebra shot 12/20 from the field in the first twelve minutes of play while holding Alaska to just 36% FG shooting. Ginebra never let up in this one and led by double-digits all the way to the semifinals, where they are to face the Mixers.

Mark Caguioa yells as his team moves on to the next round.

After shooting the lights out in the first game, Dondon Hontiveros fired mostly blanks in this all-important knockout encounter. The Cebuano sniper shot 2/9 overall from the floor to finish with just 6 points in 29 minutes of play. This was a far cry from his sublime 18-point outburst a few days ago. To compound matters, Hontiveros also committed 3 turnovers and 4 fouls.

Japeth Aguilar turned 27 yesterday, and he made sure he would make a splash, dropping 29 points on 10/15 FG shooting as Ginebra advanced to the next round. The Gilas forward also collared 13 rebounds, blocked 5 shots, and had 1 steal in a sterling show of force that surely made pundits wonder if Petron’s June Mar Fajardo really is the frontrunner for Best Player of the Conference. If Aguilar can continue tearing up the stat-sheets all the way to the Finals (and a title), then he should be the odds-on BPC favorite.

In the final quarterfinal game of the conference, San Mig Super Coffee overcame Talk N Text, 90-82. The Mixers came up with the biggest buckets and biggest plays down the stretch to pull out a huge victory in game three against the Tropang Texters. With the game’s momentum swinging back and forth, SMC leaned on clutch plays from Marc Pingris, Joe Devance, PJ Simon, and Mark Barroca to get some separation in crunch time. Barroca, in particular, was splendid in this one, scoring 18 points on 50% FG shooting on top of 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals (including a key swipe off KG Cañaleta in the final minute) to lead the Mixers to the next round. SMC will square off against sister team and top-seeded Ginebra in the semifinals.

The Texters relied on their three-point shooting late in the game, and it eventually spelled their doom. Jimmy Alapag, Jayson Castro, and KG Cañaleta all threw up bricks in crunch time as TNT played catch up. By the game’s end, the Texters shot just 29% from long range, with Castro, Cañaleta, and Alapag accounting for 13 misses. That error-filled windup derailed a great game for both Cañaleta and fellow forward Ranidel De Ocampo. Cañaleta finished with a nice double-double line (13 points and 10 rebounds), while RDO registered 22 points. This loss formalizes the Texters’ failure to defend their Philippine Cup crown and have a shot at a rare four-peat.

Justin Melton, formerly of the Malaysia Dragons in the ASEAN Basketball League, came up huge for coach Tim Cone and the Mixers. Primarily known for his speed and high-leaping ability, the pint-sized Fil-American wowed everyone with his outside shooting here. Melton came off the pine to hit 4 of his 7 three-point attempts, which accounted for all of his 12 points. He also added 4 boards and 3 dimes in a memorable breakout performance.

Game Recaps:
GINEBRA over ALASKA, 108-95
After getting outplayed for the entire game in their first quarterfinal encounter, top seed Barangay Ginebra San Miguel made sure it wouldn’t be denied a second time in Saturday’s showdown with Alaska.

The Gin Kings jumped the gun on the Aces, scoring a whopping 39 points in the first period and never looking back to win, 108-95, and move into the semifinal round of the PLDT Home DSL PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Japeth Aguilar finished with a career-high 29 points, alongside 13 rebounds and five blocks, while LA Tenorio contributed 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Four other players finished in double figures – Chris Ellis (16), Baracael (12), Mark Caguioa (12) and Greg Slaughter (11).

Barangay Ginebra shot an outstanding 12-for-20 from the field and seven different players, led by Mac Baracael with nine markers, put points up on the board in the first quarter.

And while the Kings shot the lights out in the first 12 minutes, their defense was unforgiving, holding the Aces to just 35.7% shooting (5-for-14).

“Yung intensity namin napakataas,” said Ginebra coach Ato Agustin during the postgame interview.

“Of course, yung adjustment, napakaganda. Ang key rito, we were able to dictate the tempo, yun ang importante.”

The coach said that the franchise is no stranger to high-pressure situations and that having the crowd behind them was a huge advantage.

“Sanay ang Ginebra sa mga ganitong sitwasyon maski noong naglalaro pa ako,” he said.

“Of course, with the help of the fans, malaki rin naitulong nila. Parang home court na namin ito.”

Agustin said the desire to win was very much evident as early as Friday during the team’s practice.

“Kahapon pa sa practice, nakita ko na. Sabi ko nga, if we played the way we did in practice, we’re gonna win the game,” said Agustin.

“Kaya ayun, mas nadagdagan pa yung intensity namin ngayon.”

GIN 108 – Aguilar 29, Tenorio 22, Ellis 16, Baracael 12, Caguioa 12, Slaughter 11, Helterbrand 5, Mamaril 1, Reyes 0, Monfort 0, Urbiztondo 0, Faundo 0.
ALA 95 – Casio 16, Espinas 16, Jazul 14, Abueva 13, Thoss 13, Baguio 13, Hontiveros 6, Avenido 4, Dela Cruz 0, Eman 0.
QS: 39-21, 69-43, 86-62, 108-95.

Mark Caguioa's forearm lands on the cheek of Calvin Abueva.

Japeth Aguilar dominated in the paint against the Aces.

Make way for another blockbuster Manila Clasico series in the semis.

San Mig Coffee made sure of that when it pulled off a gripping 90-82 victory over Talk ‘N Text in their knockout game for the last spot in the final four of the PLDT Home DSL PBA Philippine Cup Sunday at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The fifth-ranked Mixers will face the top-seeded Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in what is expected to be an explosive battle between two of the most popular teams in the league today.

In the deciding Game Three of their quarterfinal tiff with Talk ‘N Text, Mark Barroca played 37 minutes of high-energy basketball to keep San Mig Coffee’s intensity up while rookie Justin Melton had a breakout performance for the Mixers.

Together, the San Mig Coffee backcourt duo upstaged Talk ‘N Text’s decorated guards and sparked the rejuvenated Mixers all night long.

Barroca finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and two steals while Melton contributed 12 markers and four rebounds.

“We had a secret weapon tonight in Justin,” San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone said during the postgame interview.

“I guess it’s not secret so much anymore. My son asked me on our way to the game and said, ‘Dad, is Justin playing a lot today?’ Justin is his favorite player. I said, possibly. You’ll never know what guys coming off the bench is going to do, but he was playing so well, he’s just trying to have fun time on the floor.”

“He was really, really key for us. He hit big shots, he made big stops and he gave us a whole new dimension. ”

Melton led the San Mig Coffee charge from the outside, knocking down four of the team’s 10 three-pointers in the game.

The Mixers also took advantage of the breaks of the game, pouncing on the Tropang Texters early penalty situation in the fourth.

Around halfway through the period, Talk ‘N Text picked up a sixth team foul that affected the team on the defensive end.

“They got into early penalty and that changed the game a little bit,” Cone said.

“Our guys were attacking the basket well, I thought. We’re posting up hard and they were making the calls. We were fortunate there.”

Forwards Joe Devance and Marc Pingris chipped in with 14 and 13 points, respectively, while Peter June Simon finished with 10 points.

Ranidel De Ocampo led Talk ‘N Text with 22 points.

SMC 90 – Barroca 18, Devance 14, Pingris 13, Melton 12, Simon 10, Mallari 8, Yap 8, Sangalang 7, De Ocampo 0, Reavis 0.
TNT 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.
QS: 20-21, 42-40, 61-60, 90-82.

Mark Barroca came up big as the Mixers defeated the Texters.

Source: Unless otherwise specified, game recaps were compressed and compiled from InterAKTV. (Writing credit to Rey Joble)

Images: Unless otherwise specified, images are from the PBA and Sports 5. (Photo credit to Paolo Papa and Nuki Sabio)

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2 Comment

Tim Cone should start giving Justin Melton more minutes and a bigger role in their rotation. He is a certified energy guy off the bench with his insane athleticism, sticky defense and has a perimeter game to boot.


Mixers all the way!!! Barroca pogi mo!!!