PBA: TIGERS SHOW TRUE STRIPES, TIE KINGS

MANILA, NOVEMBER 15, 2003  (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Artemus McClary keyed a strong Coca-Cola rebound as he outclassed Rosell Ellis this time, forcing a sudden-death versus Barangay Ginebra in their Samsung PBA Reinforced Conference quarterfinals duel at the Astrodome.

McClary delivered when Coca-Cola needed it most as the Tigers ripped the Gin Kings, 85-77, to send their best-of-three series to a deciding game Wednesday.

"Before the game, I told the boys this game is not about Xs and Os, offensive and defensive plays. This is about effort, energy, our commitment to each other and heart. If we allow Ginebra to outwork us again, itís all over for us," said Coca-Cola coach Chot Reyes.

"For us to stay alive, we have to outwork Ginebra because that is what Ginebra gets from (Rosell) Ellis. Kapag pinagsama mo ang puso ni Ellis at talent ng Ginebra, hindi mo sila tatalunin," added Reyes, ironically praising McClary for leading the Tigers to a big turnaround from a loss in Game One Sunday.

With the two teams now tied at one game apiece, Reyes sees the same scenario in the do-or-die setto. "The team which comes out and plays harder in Game Three wins this playoff."

McClary dished out sterling efforts last night, coming up with a near triple-double game with 23 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists that went with two steals and one block.

And the whole Coca-Cola team literally pushed itself to the limit, battling Ginebra to a 51-all standoff in rebounds. In Game One, the Kings outrebounded the Tiges, 55-40.

Ellis muscled his way for a game-high 22 rebounds, but his atrocious foul-shooting hastened the Kingís defeat. He went 2-of-9 from the stripe in the payoff period.

While Ellis was struggling from the line, McClary sizzled from all over as the Tigers held on to the finish after darting to a 63-52 lead at the end of the third.

McClary, Poch Juinio and Johnny Abarrientos made big plays that had Coca-Cola breaking away from a 41-40 count at the half. Romel Adducul scored a career-high 20 points and added eight rebounds and one assist that all went to naught on their sorry loss.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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