By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
THE Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings seek to pin down the TNT Tropang Giga further in their best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup finals series as they go for a commanding 3-0 lead in Game Three on Friday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena in Pampanga.
Displaying their trademark “never say die” ways in the previous match, the Kings came charging back and took Game Two, 92-90, to move closer to winning the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) All-Filipino title.
Stanley Pringle and Aljon Mariano towed Barangay Ginebra to the victory, with the other key cogs stepping up late.
The explosive Pringle was top-notch throughout the contest, finishing with a team-high 34 points to go along with eight assists and six rebounds.
Mr. Mariano, meanwhile, came off the bench and had 20 points and nine rebounds.
TNT had a seven-point lead, 84-77, with less than five minutes left to play and seemingly in control on the way to the win.
But Barangay Ginebra had other plans, rallying back to level the count at 84-all with 1:53 to go.
The Tropang Giga had their chances to create distance anew, but could not consummate them, which the Kings made them pay for it.
Scottie Thompson, who struggled offensively all game long, drained a clutch three-pointer, his lone basket in the match, with 30 seconds left on the game clock to make it 87-85 in favor of Barangay Ginebra.
It was leverage the Kings took full advantage of, with free throws from LA Tenorio in the closing seconds securing the win for them.
Jared Dillinger had eight points for Barangay Ginebra with Japeth Aguilar and Jeff Chan adding six points apiece.
For TNT, Roger Pogoy had a game-high 38 points as he tried to compensate for the absence of leading scorer Ray Parks, Jr., who missed Game Two after reaggravating a left calf injury in the series opener.
The Tropang Giga are hoping to have him back in harness come Game Three.
Backstopping Mr. Pogoy last game was Simon Enciso with 15 points, followed by Jayson Castro with 13 points and six dimes.
JP Erram had a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds.
“We are thankful to win tonight, but I think we still could have played better. There is not much to celebrate just yet because games could go either way moving forward,” said Kings coach Tim Cone following their Game Three win, taking note of how TNT had Barangay Ginebra needing scramble in each of the first two matches.
“A 2-0 lead means nothing for a team like TNT and I truly believe that. So, we cannot be comfortable at this point knowing that TNT dominated us for much of the first two games,” he added.
Game Three of the PBA Philippine Cup finals is set for 6 p.m.