Mark Barroca (left) in action during the quarterfinals (YouTube photo courtesy)
By Cip D.C. Cabrera
MANILA — Magnolia held on to dear life in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals with a 105-97 Game 5 win over the TNT Tropang Giga at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday, August 12.
With the win, the hard-pressed Magnolia Hotshots improved to 2-3 in their best-of-seven seminal affair, needing another victory in Game 6 to reset the series and bring it to a you-or-me rubber match, Game 7 decider.
Veteran point guard Mark Barroca carried the offense for the Hotshots as he delivered a stellar performance of 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Another stalwart in Calvin Abueva also hugely contributed to their crucial win as he backstopped Barroca with an all-around game of 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists as Magnolia cut TNT’s series lead to 2-3.
In the other game, the San Miguel Beermen survived a gritty onslaught by the Meralco Bolts to win, 89-78, which moved them a win shy of its first PBA Philippine Cup Finals appearance since its five-peat run.
SMB now leads the series, 3-2, against Meralco in their semifinal series.
Filipino-Guamanian shooting guard Jericho Cruz bounced back strong from a sub-par performance in Game 4 as he blasted in 17 points, 14 of them happening in the crucial second half.
This happened after SMB got a scare when it almost squandered a lead that went as high as 15 when the Bolts closed the gap within two points, 78-76, on an Allein Maliksi three-pointer with barely three minutes left in the contest.
Barroca 25, Abueva 16, Lee 16, Sangalang 16, Jalalon 15, Dionisio 10, Dela Rosa 3, Reavis 2, Escoto 2, Wong 0.
Tropang Giga (97)
Castro 18, Rosario 17, Erram 16, M.Williams 13, Pogoy 13, Khobuntin 12, K.Williams 6, Montalbo 2, Reyes 0, Ganuelas-Rosser.
Quarterscores: 28-26; 59-45; 81-73; 105-97.
San Miguel (89)
Perez 24, Cruz 17, Fajardo 12, Tautuaa 9, Enciso 8, Manuel 6, Lassiter 5, Brondial 5, Ross 0, Herndon 0.
Newsome 24, Maliksi 12, Hodge 11, Quinto 11, Almazan 8, Black 6, Pascual 2, Banchero 2, Hugnatan 2, Jose 0, Baclao 0.
Quarters: 25-22, 41-44, 67-56, 89-78.