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Vernon Macklin carried Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on his broad shoulders as the Gin Kings stayed alive against Talk ‘N Text, 104-101, in Game Four of the Commissioner’s Cup semifinals Friday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Macklin scored 37 points, including a basket with 54.4 seconds left that broke the game’s final deadlock, to force a rubber match for a ticket to the championship round.
The import got plenty of support from Ginebra locals, as five other players scored in double figures — Jayjay Helterbrand (17 points), LA Tenorio (16), Chris Ellis (13), and Kerby Raymundo (12).
“This win is for my players,” said Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua. “Wala na akong masabi sa kanila.”
Ginebra built a double-digit lead in the first half, before Talk ‘N Text rallied in the third quarter after Macklin was called for a flagrant foul for shoving Ranidel De Ocampo.
Talk ‘N Text leaned on import Tony Mitchell, who scored 45 points. But the dynamic reinforcement lost steam down the stretch, missing several shots that could have tied the game for the Tropang Texters.
“He’s a very good import. We can’t stop him, but we can contain him,” said Chua, whose Gin Kings forced Mitchell into missing all eight of his three-point attempts apart from eight turnovers.
Mitchell got limited support from the rest of the Tropang Texters, with only Ranidel De Ocampo scoring in double figures for Talk ‘N Text.
The final game of the series is set on Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum at 6:15 p.m.
“Eto wala nang pahingahan ‘to,” said Chua.
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