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GINEBRA NAILS SEMIS SPOT
Published on March 30, 2012
Barangay Ginebra top gun Mark Caguioa came crashing down in a nasty accident in the third quarter and never came back again.
This served no problem for the Kings, though, with reserve forward KG Canaleta picking up the slack.
Canaleta played his best game in a Ginebra uniform in an opportune time, leading the Kings to a come-from-behind 93-84 win over the B-Meg Llamados in their battle for an outright semifinal passage in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome Friday night.
With Canaleta leading their charge, the Kings outmaneuvered and outgunned the Llamados in the fourth quarter for the crucial win sending them to an early Final Four entry with top seed Talk n Text.
B-Meg settled for third seeding in the playoffs, requiring the team to go through the quarterfinals versus Meralco. They begin their best-of-three showdown Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Earlier in the day, the Bolts outfought the Powerade Tigers, 102-98, in their knockout duel for the last seat in the post-elim plays.
Canaleta put in his biggest output in a Ginebra jersey with 25 points, providing the Kings a huge lift as they overcame double-digit deficits in the first half and pulled through with plenty to spare.
The Kings were still lagging behind at 72-74 before unleashing a mind-boggling 19-2 run to turn things around.
Ginebra did the trick with Caguioa on the dugout being attended for a nasty cut on the right eyelid he sustained on a fall early in the third quarter.
Caguioa played only 22 minutes, getting five points, two assists and one rebound against four turnovers.
Practically the whole Ginebra team stepped up, though, allowing the franchise to stretch to 15 its streak of playoff appearances.
And for the first time in two years, the Kings made it outright to the Final Four.
Jackson Vroman and Mike Cortez also played key roles, helping fuel Ginebra’s mighty windup.
Surely, Canaleta made the biggest impact, though, with his best game as a Ginebra player curiously dished out against his former team.
“I’m happy for Canaleta. His hard work in practice paid off,” said Ginebra coach Siot
Tanquingcen of his new recruit who totaled only 25 points in his first six games with the Kings.
“Alam niya na masikip ang posisyon namin sa three and four. Pero masipag pa rin sa ensayo iyan, working on his shooting,” Tanquingcen added.
Canaleta put in 14 points coming off the bench in the second quarter, enabling the Kings to rally from double-digit deficits, coming to within three, 40-43, at the half.
The 6-foot-3 forward fired three straight treys and scored on a layup as he single-handedly carried the Kings to within two, 40-42, from 11 down at 39-40.
The Llamados set the pace early, taking the opening quarter at 27-17.
Curiously, the Kings fought back in the second period with Vroman and Caguioa riding the bench.
Caguioa was just back when he met the accident, losing his balance as he maneuvered between James Yap and Rafi Reavis. He crashed down with his face slamming to the floor. (SB)
GINEBRA 93 - Canaleta 25, Vroman 15, Cortez 15, Ababou 9, Hatfield 8, Labagala 5, Caguioa 5, J.
Wilson 4, Mamaril 4, W. Wilson 2, Raymundo 1, Villanueva 0.
B-MEG 84 - Yap 18, Bowles 12, Simon 11, Urbiztondo 10, De Ocampo 10, Devance 9, Intal 6, Pingris 4,
Barroca 2, Reavis 2, Acuna 0.
Quarters: 17-27, 40-43, 64-68, 93-84
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