Thompson leads Ginebra rally past NLEX
Sean Anthony missed an open layup off a perfectly executed NLEX inbound play in the last 1.5 seconds, allowing Barangay Ginebra to escape with the biggest comeback win in the season.
Before a good weekend crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the Gin Kings waged an incredible chase from a 22-point deficit en route to a 91-90 thriller of a win over the Road Warriors that enhanced their bid for a Top Six finish in the Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup.
“From a coaching standpoint, I don’t feel deserving to be here. But the guys just didn’t give up on the game, especially our second group,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
Reserves Scottie Thompson, Dave Marcelo, Joe Devance and Chris Ellis engineered the mighty fightback that brought Ginebra up to fifth place at 6-4.
The Kings avoid complication of ties and automatically secure twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals with a win over the TNT Tropang Texters Sunday. They can also gain the same privilege on a loss by Barako Bull to Alaska Milk on Saturday.
“It’s my first time to be on the side of the never-say-die that’s really created by the fans. We’ve got to give credit to the fans as they did the work for ustonight,” said Cone.
The Ginebra fans provided great energy, cheering no end as the Kings charged back into the game after falling behind by 22 at 53-75.
The previous biggest comeback win in the season was fashioned out by Barako Bull curiously over Ginebra lastOct. 31 – from 21 points down.
“We had a lot of heroes in this game from our second group who got us back into the game to JJ (Helterbrand) to Joe Devance and to Greg Slaughter for his two big blocks at endgame,” said Cone.
Slaughter first rejected a shot by Jonas Villanueva paving the way for Thompson’s crucial trip to the line to make it 91-90 with time down to 10.4 seconds.
Immediately after, Slaughter swatted away a layup by Anthony, but NLEX retained possession with 1.5 ticks to go.
The Road Warriors executed a great in-bound play but Anthony muffed a shot right in front of the basket, allowing the Gin Kings to squeeze through.
Slaughter finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds while Thompson wound up with a first double-digit output in the pros with 14, all in the last 18 minutes of the game.
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