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After starting the conference with 0-4 and 1-5 slates, Barangay Ginebra still reached the Finals for the first time in two seasons, getting a chance to end a five-year title drought by beating Talk ‘N Text 111-103 Sunday night in their do-or-die showdown in the Cebuana Lhuillier playoffs of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup in front of a crowd of 21,480 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Led by the 28 points of LA Tenorio, 22 points and 20 rebounds of Vernon Macklin and the 21 of Mac Baracael, the Kings won their best-of-five semifinal series against the Tropang Texters 3-2 to advance to the another best-of-five series this time for the championship against playoff No. 1 seed Alaska.
Game 1 of the Finals is slated Wednesday also at the Big Dome.
Tenorio and Baracael, curiously former Alaska players, recorded their highest outputs in a Ginebra uniform in the game where the Kings saw their 22-point lead cut down to just six in the third and fourth periods but showed poise in the endgame to eliminate the injury-riddled reigning Philippine Cup champion.
Already without Kelly Williams (rare blood disorder) and Jared Dillinger (hip bone fracture), Talk ‘N Text showed up for Game 5 without Ranidel de Ocampo who injured his right calf muscle late in Game 4 while Jimmy Alapag forced himself to play even with also an injured calf muscle.
The Tropang Texters were led by the 42 points of Tony Mitchell who however shot just 12-of-35 from the field.
BARANGAY GINEBRA 111 – Tenorio 28, Macklin 22, Baracael 21, Helterbrand 15, Raymundo 13, Hatfield 6, Urbiztondo 3, Caguioa 2, Ellis 1, Mamaril 0.
TALK ‘N TEXT 103 – Mitchell 42, Castro 15, Peek 11, Reyes 10, Ferriols 9, Aban 8, Fonacier 3, Al-Hussaini 2, Carey 2, Raymundo 1, Gamalinda 0, Alvarez 0, Alapag 0.
Quarterscores: 27-18, 61-41, 78-69, 111-103
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