The game between Ginebra Gin Kings and Purefoods Star Hotshots was definitely an amazing gift to the fans.
It was tight ball game until the 4th period when the Star Hotshots took the lead by as many as 18 points.
The Gin kings slowly cut the lead and made an 8-0 run in the last two minutes of the ball game.
With a minute left, the Gin Kings drained 3-point baskets courtesy of Aguilar and Mercado to outscore the split free throws by Yap and Melton.
Down to the last 14 seconds of regulation, the hotshots were still in a good position to win the game however at this point of the ball game the Ginbra Never-Say-Die spirit came alive!
Sol Mercado hit another huge 3-point basket to cut down the lead to 2 points 80-78.
Coming off a time out the hotshots committed a crucial turn over. The Gin Kings intensified the pressure defense and forced Mark Baroca to lose the ball which lead to an easy lay-up by the rookie Scottie Thompson.
The MOA Arena erupted! As the game is tied. With 3.4 seconds remaining in the ball game, coming out of a time out, Raffie Reavis once again was assigned to inbound the ball.
The intensified pressure defense by the Gin Kings made the Hotshots to commit the same crucial turnover as James Yap failed to secure the ball off the in-bound pass. Sol Mercado stolen the ball but unfortunately did not make the lay-up.
During the overtime period, both teams traded 3-point baskets. While it is the season for exchanging gifts, Baroca and Tenorior exchanged 3-point baskets.
The star point guard even gave out two 3 treys. During the 2:13 in the OT period, Sol Mercado hit a huge 3-point to tie the game at 86 apiece.
Alex Mallari joined the 3-point exchange by connecting from beyond the arc. 89-89, 1:36 left.
Gin Kings played the next possession patiently, they shared the ball 7 times before Sol Mercado found himself open beyond the arc then hit another cold blooded trey!!
The game is tied at 89 apiece and the Hotshots failed to make a basket with 30 seconds left in OT.
The Gin kings got the last possession with 16 seconds left. Marc Baroca fouled L.A. Tenorio, the initial unsportsman foul was quickly changed to a regular foul.
The Gin Kings called a time out to orchestrate the clutch play with 4.1 seconds left in the game.
Sol Mercardo secured the leather off the in-bound pass from L.A.Ternorio then he quickly dribbled closer to the basket. Mark Baroca had to provide help defense and Tenrio was left open.
The man of the hour Sol Mercado made a quick bounce pass to his open teammate, and there’s the dagger! L.A Tenorio who was momentarily open made a buzzer beater!
The Gin kings are moving on to the knock out round against Global Port Batang pier while the Purefood Star Hotshots ended their campaign.