PBA: Barangay Ginebra clinches PH Cup finals slot after thrashing Star

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Barangay Ginebra knocked out the Star Hotshots, 89-76, in the rubber match of the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup semifinals on Tuesday evening at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Sol Mercado had another remarkable outing for the Gin Kings with 23 points, five assists, and four rebounds.

Barangay Ginebra controlled the tempo from start to finish en route to the series-clinching victory.

Allein Maliksi’s 12 straight points led a third quarter push for the Hotshots in the third quarter, but it could not keep with the Gin Kings' collective effort who showed that they really wanted to win.

Ginebra will be marching on to its second straight finals appearance – they previously won the Governors’ Cup title.

L.A. Tenorio chipped in 21 points and five assists, while Japeth Aguilar dropped 19 points for the Gin Kings.

Maliksi and Marc Pingris registered 22 points and 17 points respectively in the Hotshots’ losing effort.

Asked on what pushed them on in Game 7, head coach Tim Cone credited the die hard Ginebra fans for their triumph.

“We didn’t do it, the crowd did it. The crowd did it for us. It is so different, it's so difficult to describe,” Cone said before a sellout crowd.

The Gin Kings will face tough a San Miguel Beermen squad in the best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup finals which will start on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

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Read: San Miguel returns to PH Cup finals with huge victory over TNT

The scores:

Barangay Ginbebra (89) – Mercado 23, Tenorio 21, Aguilar 19, Thompson 10, Devance 7, Cruz 6, Ferrer 2, Marcelo 1, Caguioa 0, Ellis 0.

Star (76) – Maliksi 22, Pingris 17, Ramos 14, Barroca 8, Reavis 5, Lee 4, Jalalon 4, Melton 2, Simon 0, Sangalang 0, Dela Rosa 0.

Quarterscores: 26-16, 45-36, 65-61, 89-76.