Ginebra is now 4-0 when facing an elimination game after beating TNT, 111-103, in front of 21,000 fans cheering at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. LA Tenorio played his best game wearing a Ginebra uniform – tallying 28 points, six rebounds and five assists that led Ginebra back into the Finals. Vernon Macklin had a double-double performance with 22 points and 20 rebounds.
Tony Mitchell led the Texters with 42 points but shot only 12 of 35 from the field. Ginebra led all the way after scoring seven straight points from the get go and they never looked back, establishing a 20-point lead by halftime. A run by the TNT in the 3rd quarter brought them back into the game but the breaks went to Ginebra after Macklin was called for a personal foul (after he shoved Aaron Aban to the floor).
Ginebra overcame another obstacle – they were down 2-1 in the series, winning the last two. After beating TNT in a convincing fashion in Game 1, TNT rallied back and won in the next two. In the two losses, Ginebra averaged only 79.5 points while in their winning games they averaged 106.3 points per game.
Review of the Keys to the Series
1. Macklin must dominate. Macklin has proven time and time again that he is a crunch-time player. He’s on a beast mode – having 22 points and 20 rebounds following his 37-point performance on Game 4. Basically, no TNT player can match-up against him.
2. The bench play. Give the Ginebra bench some credit – they played their hearts out every time they were fielded in. Jayjay Helterbrand played like he was in the mid-2000’s as he anchored the Ginebra bench. In 5 games, he averaged 12.2 points and his leadership was evident in some crucial plays of the game.
3. The Spark – Yes, Mark Caguioa played a cameo role in Game 5 – hitting two free throws to give fans what they wanted – but the real Spark of this team was their defense. Every time they make a stop, they run where they can score easy transition points. Mac Baracael and Kerby Raymundo also had their moments in this series.
LA Tenorio. Without Mark Caguioa, Ginebra had LA do little bit more of everything. The Gineral averaged 14.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists in the series against TNT. His leadership was valued more than anything else. When Ginebra was in trouble, he bailed them out. He basically matched-up (if not outplayed) Jason Castro in this series.
Ginebra now will face Alaska Aces in a best-of-five finals. The Aces have beaten Ginebra twice in this conference but expect Ginebra to play better than their first two meetings. The status of Mark Caguioa is still uncertain but with his teammates stepping up there will be no problem.