That was one hell of a ballgame! The Basketball Gods gave us a treat as we punctuated our Saturday night with some PBA action. Some fans were upset because of the delayed telecast of the Barako Bull vs San Mig Coffee game, but the PBA made it up to them by giving them a controversial thriller in this Ginebra vs. Rain or Shine game, which Ginebra won 101-100.
You may be already familiar with this word after watching the horror film. In this game though, there was a different kind of conjuring (to summon a demon by magic of supernatural power), as Mark Caguioa played arguably his best game of the conference.
The Spark, as we all expected, bounced back from a forgettable 6 points 0/11 from the field showing against San Mig Coffee. Coming off the bench, the Spark set the tone for Ginebra as he poured on 11 first quarter points. He continued the barrage in the second quarter adding 13 more points to finish with 24 points on 11/16 shooting in the first half. There was absolutely no Rain or Shine player that could’ve stopped Caguioa last night. They tried Gabe Norwood, arguably the best wing defender in the league, but it failed. They tried the James Yap stopper Jireh Ibañes but the reigning MVP just shook him off time after time. Even Ryan Araña could only shake his head after every Caguioa made jumper. I thought he would finish with 40 markers, but he played as a decoy role in the 4th. In the end, he finished with 32 points 8 rebounds and 4 assists, shooting 56% form the field.
People were so amazed with Caguioa that they did not realize that Rain or Shine import AZ Reid was having a monster game as well. The former best import scored 20 points in the first half with a barrage of three pointers. He made three 3-pointers in the second quarter to keep the Elasto painters in the game. In the dying seconds, he hit an off balanced jumper over Dior Lowhorn that gaves Rain or Shine a 100-98. Reid finished the game with 40 points and 12 boards.
Most of the fans don’t know that Mac Baracael is suffering from a back spasms, so he really didn’t expect to get the ball for an opportunity to win the game for the Gin Kings. With 2.0 seconds remaining, Coach Ato Agustin designed a play that will give the ball to either LA Tenorio or Mark Caguioa. ROS knew that the play will be focused on Ginebra’s duo and then when Helterbrand couldn’t find either LA or Mark, he saw Baracael sliding through the wings. Baracael’s three point shot was blocked by Beau Belga, who was then whistled for a foul after making contact with Baracael’s forearm. The former Gilas standout nailed three cold blooded free throws to give Ginebra a 101-100 lead and the win.
Coach Yeng Guiao was fuming at the refs after the foul was called. “It was an obvious no-foul”, Guiao said. He was also mad at the time remaining. The refs gave them 0.3 seconds to work on a play but he felt that they should be given more than a second. “Yung oras ang tingin rin naman mga more than a second pa, pero binigyan kami, 0.3 na lang. That only happened because of the bad decision of the referee. Consequence lang yun nung original na maling tawag, so pwede ring isama,” Guiao added. With this loss, the Rain or Shine will file a protest for a bad call by the ref and for the time given to them. (UPDATE: The Commishioner upheld Ginebra’s win after review of the play, stating that the correct call was made by the referee).
The Barangay Ginebra
With this win, Ginebra has now separated themselves from the bottom of the standings with a 3-4 win-loss record. They are now tied with Alaska and Globalport at the 6th spot.
Here are the keys of the game:
1. Battle of the Wings
The duo of Baracael and Ellis outscored and outplayed the quadruplets of Norwood, Chan, Ibañes and Araña 19-17. Norwood, Ibañes and Araña were tasked to guard Mark Caguioa but all of them failed while Ellis successfully shadowed Jeff Chan throughout the game as Chan only scored five points. Norwood provided a highlight play with a steal and a one-handed jam but it was Baracael who stole the spotlight with a dagger of freethrows.
2. The Lowhorn attack
He continues to attack and he continues to deliver. Dior Lowhorn continues to produce big numbers for Ginebra as he produced 31 points, nine rebounds and a block. He torched Belga and Quiñahan at the post with his wide arsenal of post moves.
3. Fantastic LA
If I have Tinyente Tenorio on my fantasy team I would be very happy. Look at his numbers this game: eight points six rebounds and 10 assists. He didn’t need to score in this game as Caguioa provided that, but it was his leadership that give Ginebra stability from start to finish.
Key Match-up: Mark Caguioa vs. Paul Lee
Looks like Caguioa has more angas than the Angas ng Tondo. Caguioa scored a conference high 32 points while grabbing eight rebounds and dishing four assists while Paul Lee finished with 11 points in a losing effort.