UPDATE: PBA's coverage suffers a big blow; Solar faces possible penalty anew (click here)
Mark Caguioa came through in the clutch and lifted Barangay Ginebra to a rousing 92-82 win over hard-fighting Rain or Shine, nailing the last semifinals berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Wednesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.
Caguioa finished with a game-high 30 points, scoring five of the Kings’ final nine points, including a huge three-point shot entering the final two minutes of play.
The three-pointer extended a shaky four-point Ginebra lead to 86-79.
The Kings wrapped up the best-of-three quarterfinals series, 2-1. Now they take on second seeded Pilipinas-Smart Gilas in the best-of-five semifinals that kicks off on Friday also at the Big Dome.
"Rain or Shine is really a tough opponent, especially with coach Yeng around," said Ginebra mentor Jong Uichico. “We’re over with this, but we’re facing another tough series."
Caguioa went 13-of-22 from the field and grabbed 11 rebounds as Nate Brumfield struggled in the deciding Game 3 of the series.
Brumfield finished with 12 points behind the 15 of Willie Miller, although he did hit a soft jumper as the shot clock was winding down, stretching back Ginebra’s lead to 88-81 with 1:31 remaining.
Hassan Adams led Rain or Shine with 25 points, Larry Rodriguez had 15 and Gabe Norwood 11.
The Elasto Painters kept the match close all throughout, and even took a 75-73 lead midway in the fourth period on a booming trey by Josh Vanlandingham.
But Mike Cortez and Ronald Tubid scored consecutive baskets as Ginebra regained the upper hand for good.
Trailing by seven, the Elasto Painters had two good looks at the basket, but Vanlandingham and Ronjay Buenafe both missed from long range.
That resulted in another Caguioa basket for a 90-81 lead in the final 54 seconds. - JVP, KY, GMA News
The scores: (2nd Game)
Ginebra 92 - Caguioa 30, Miller 15, Brumfield 12, Cortez 10, Mamaril 8, Menk 7, Tubid 6, Labagala 2, Hatfield 2, Wilson J. 0, Wilson W. 0.
Rain or Shine 82 - Adams 25, Rodriguez 15, Norwood 11, Belga 9, Vanlandingham 8, Arana 6, Buenafe 6, Tang 2, Chan 0, Kramer 0.
Quarters: 17-18, 42-40, 67-65, 92-82
PBA Semifinals (Best-of-5)
Game 1 (April 15)
Semis1: Air21 vs. Talk 'N Text - 5:00pm
Semis2: Smart Gilas vs. Ginebra - 7:30pm