Stanley Pringle scored 34 points and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel rallied Wednesday to a 92-90 win over TNT Tropang Giga in Game 2 of the PBA Philippine Cup finals to take a 2-0 series lead.
Pringle added eight assists and Aljon Mariano stepped up with 20 points and nine rebounds at the AUF Sports Arena and Cultural Center.
Roger Pogoy's 38 points, including five 3-pointers, wasn't enough for TNT. Ray Parks was in uniform for Game 2, but did not see action due to a left calf strain.
"It was certainly a struggle for us all game long," said Ginebra coach Tim Cone. "I thought that Talk 'N Text dominated us for more than three quarters in the game. We were able to make a run in the end. We were saying, even at halftime, we haven't played well collectively, we haven't played well individually."
Ginebra was down by 15 points in the third as the Tropang Giga had control of the momentum. However, the duo of Pringle and Mariano, along with Ginebra's second unit, was able to turn the tide and erase the deficit. The trio of Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, and LA Tenorio struggled offensively and combined for just 14 points, but provided clutch plays in the fourth quarter.
"I thought that as much as LA, Stan, and Scottie did their thing down the stretch, Aljon's contribution was just exceptional," said Cone. "He played with a toughness that we needed tonight. We really needed someone to step up and make the tough plays. Be a physical presence out there. He doesn't back down to anybody and that's why we love him so much."
The Ginebra comeback in the fourth was an uphill climb as TNT's lead slowly dwindled. Pogoy shot another from downtown to push the lead to seven, 84-77, with under four minutes left as TNT still had control. Mariano hit two free throws to kickstart a quick 7-0 blast by Ginebra to tie the game. After Jayson Castro split his charities, Thompson capitalized with a clutch 3-point shot on the other end with 30.5 ticks left on the clock to give Ginebra the lead for good. Tenorio then iced the game on the line with a couple of free throws.
"When they started to stretch the lead out, we didn't panic," said Cone. "We weren't forcing things. We were still taking our time, trying to methodically work back in the game. And JD (Joe Devance) kept yelling at timeouts, 'One point at a time. We can make it back.' Frankly, I wasn't so sure. JD had more faith than me."
Simon Enciso was TNT's second-leading scorer with 15 points followed by Castro who had 13.
GINEBRA 92 - Pringle 34, Mariano 20, Dillinger 8, Chan 6, Aguilar 6, Tenorio 5, Devance 4, Tolentino 4, Thompson 3, Caperal 2
TNT 90 - Pogoy 38, Enciso 15, Castro 13, Erram 11, Rosario 11, De Leon 2, Reyes 0, Carey 0, Semerad 0, Montalbo 0, Washington 0
Quarters : 21-17, 36-40, 68-70, 92-90
According to PBA statistician Fidel Mangonon, Mariano's 20-point outing matched his career-high while Pringle's 34 points in Game 2 was his best scoring game as a member of Ginebra.
Ginebra had 26 points in the paint, a lot fewer than its 60 points in Game 1, but still managed to get the win.
Ryan Reyes started the game for the injured Ray Parks.
Game 3 on Friday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m.