SMART CLARK GIGA CITY - Scottie Thompson made a big three in the closing seconds to cap a near triple-double performance and lift Barangay Ginebra to the PBA Philippine Cup finale with an 83-80 nail-biter over underdog but fierce-fighting Meralco in their semis do-or-die duel Friday.
"Tinira ko na lang dahil wala ng oras. Tinira ko na lang at si God na ang nag-shoot non," said Thompson of his winning basket that sent them to an interesting title series with TNT Tropang Giga starting Sunday at the AUF Sports Center Powered by Smart 5G.
"Very thankful kami nanalo. Talagang tough game. Lahat ng hard work namin mula sa offseason, sa quarantine break at hanggang sa bubble, nag-pay off," Thompson also said.
Their bubble fate was in the balance until Thompson made the three-pointer that broke an 80-all deadlock and the heart of the Meralco side.
Ginebra ended Meralco's dream ride in the bubble tourney, with the Kings winning the winner-take-all and thus gaining a crack at a first all-Filipino crown in 13 years.
Thompson played big in the rubber, going 7-of-15 from the field and also coming through with 12 rebounds and seven assists against four turnovers.
Stanley Pringle (22 points and eight rebounds), LA Tenorio (14 and five) and Japeth Aguilar (12 and eight) also provided huge lift for the Kings who stayed in the hunt for a follow-up to their Governors Cup crown.
The Bolts set the pace most of the way but came up short in the end, with an all-Filipino finals remaining elusive for the franchise.
Chris Newsome, Cliff Hodge, Bong Quinto, Reynel Hugnatan and Allein Maliksi all put in double-digit outputs for the Bolts with a Hugnatan trey from a well-executed play tying the count at 80 with 14.5 ticks to go.
From a timeout, the Kings went to Thompson from a broken play.
And without hesitation, Thompson heaved a shot that found the mark, sending the Kings to a wild celebration. (SB)
GINEBRA - Pringle 22, Thompson 20, Tenorio 14, Aguilar 12, Caperal 5, Mariano 5, Devance 2, Dillinger 3, Tolentino 0, Chan 0.
MERALCO - Newsome 15, Hodge 14, Quinto 14, Maliksi 12, Hugnatan 12, Jackson 4, Almazan 4, Amer 3, Black 2, Jamito 0, Pinto 0.
Quarters: 17-14; 33-31; 55-59; 83-80.