Barangay Ginebra finally fought San Miguel Beer in a tight battle in the series Sunday night, summoning its old never-say-die spirit to hack out an 87-83 win for the pivotal 3-2 lead in the PBA Commissioner's Cup championship series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Thompson collected 11 rebounds and three assists on top of his 20 makers, Greg Slaughter had his own double-double game with 13 points and the same number of rebounds while Tenorio and Devance chipped in 15 and eight markers, respectively.
The Kings stood their ground in a tough defensive battle, and turned to Scottie Thompson, Joe Devance and LA Tenorio for the clutch shots at the finish as they grinded out the win to move on the doorstep of a third crown in six conferences.
Thompson, a rebounding phenom, turned to putting up buckets as he needed to as Justin Brownlee was shackled down all night by Chris Ross.
The former Perpetual Help ace guard, delivered a team-high 20 points, including six in a crucial 9-0 closing salvo by Ginebra from 78-83 down in the last 3:15 mark.
"Lucky shots. I'm happy naka-deliver ako at nakatulong," said Thompson, the biggest hero for the Kings and the predominantly Ginebra crowd of 16,958 that watched Game Five.
For coach Tim Cone, the big difference was the team's solid defense.
"It's about defense. It's about making stops," said Cone of their four-point win in the first close match in what had been a crazy series of lopsided games.
"It's a tough defensive battle and that's what I like. It's 40-all at the half, and that's the kind of game we wanted to play. We pulled it off," Cone also said.
San Miguel coach Leo Austria, meanwhile, rued not getting the calls at the finish.
"Palagay ko maraming tao na ang napasaya dahil finally, it's a close game.
Though we lost, I'm proud of my team. I had thought we would win the game, leading by five entering the last three minutes. But we didn't get the breaks," Austria said.
The Beermen were still the game, at 83-86, in the last 23 seconds, but Arwind Santos missed a three-point attempt from way, way out, then Ross was called for a lane violation while about to take a three-point try of his own.
Tenorio nailed a charity with 2.9 seconds to go to seal the win.
Renaldo Balkman scored their first 10 points in the match and finished with 34 points and 20 rebounds in his most productive performance in the night.
But Balkman himself was clipped by the Kings in the crunch. (SB)
Ginebra 87 - Thompson 20, Brownlee 18, Tenorio 15, Slaughter 13, Devance 8, J. Aguilar 8, Chan 5, Mercado 0, Cruz 0, Ferrer.
San Miguel 83 - Balkman 34, Fajardo 23, Lassiter 13, Cabagnot 5, Ross 3, Standhardinger 3, Santos 2, Nabong 0.
Quarters: 24-26, 40-40, 66-66, 87-83.