Scottie Thompson of Brgy Ginebra tries to recover the ball as Troy Rosario (18) and Glen Rice of TNT KaTropa maintain a two-man defense in their semifinal game last night at the Big Dome.      JOEY MENDOZA

Kings edge Texters, inch closer to final
Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - October 6, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Joe Devance and Scottie Thompson knocked in crucial putbacks in the last ticks of a furious, high-tension confrontation and Barangay Ginebra outlasted TNT KaTropa, carving out a 106-103 win for the pivotal 2-1 lead in their PBA Governors Cup best-of-five semifinal duel at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.

Glen Rice Jr. could have sent the game into overtime but saw his three-point shot bounce out of the rim at the buzzer, allowing the Kings to preserve the win and move within a game of a title rematch with the Meralco Bolts.

Ginebra tries to wrap up the series in Game Four at the same venue tomorrow. Game Five, if necessary, will be at the MOA Arena in Pasay Tuesday.

“That’s a great game. Both teams played well, and it came down to the last shot. It bounced out and came to our favor,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone after the highly charged ball game marred by heated verbal tussles between Ginebra team manager Alfrancis Chua and TNT coach Nash Racela late in the second quarter and during the halftime break.

The proverbial cooler heads needed to intervene to prevent the commotion from getting out of hand in the Chua-Racela confrontation when both teams were heading to their dugouts for the halftime huddle.

The Texters rallied behind their coach at the resumption of play, charging back from a 12-point deficit then fighting the Kings toe-to-toe all the way to the finish.

“We used our height and played our game while they used their quickness to blow by our big men. They played their style and we played our style, and that’s why the game came down to the last shot,” said Cone.

Three straight baskets on putbacks by Thompson and Devance gave the Kings a five-point lead with 32.6 seconds to go.

But the Texters still refused to fold up and got a chance to force extension after Thompson missed two charities with 7.1 ticks left.

The Kings eventually took the win and the crucial 2-1 series lead as Rice missed a potential game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer.

Cone insisted, however, that the series if far from over, expecting another tough fightback from the Texters in Game Four.

“It just gave us the lead that is nice to have. But it’s not a safe one against TNT. There’s no safe lead against this team,” said Cone.

Devance, Thompson, LA Tenorio, Greg Slaughter and Justin Brownlee carried the offensive load for the Kings in the game where they enjoyed a big advantage on free throws.

The Kings got 43 foul shots as against the Texters’ 14.

Cone said it’s because they were the more aggressive team this time, a turnaround from last game.

Devance, Thompson, Tenorio, Slaughter and Brownlee scored at least 16 points each as the Kings negated Rice’s huge double-double outing with 44 points and 20 rebounds.

The scores
GINEBRA 106 – Devance 20, Slaughter 19, Thompson 17, Brownlee 17, Tenorio 16, Aguilar 8, Mercado 7, Ferrer 2.
TNT 103 – Rice Jr. 44, Castro 17, Semerad 10, Williams 10, Pogoy 7, Rosario 7, Golla 3, Reyes 3, Seigle 2, Nuyles 0, Tautuaa 0, Chua 0.
Quarterscores: 31-26, 60-49, 85-80, 106-103.


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