PBA CHAMPION CUP:  BARAKOS  END  KING'S  REIGN

MANILA, June 12, 2005 
(STAR) By Nelson Beltran - The Barangay Ginebra Kings’ reign as PBA Fiesta Cup champions came to an abrupt end last night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Red Bull dethroned Ginebra on an amazing comeback from a 27-point deficit, resulting in a 90-89 squeaker that sent the Barakos to the quarterfinal round of the season-ending tourney.

Earl Barron erupted for 34 points, including the deciding two free throws in the last six seconds, as the Barakos came up with a follow-up on their 99-84 whipping of the Kings Thursday and gained the right to play the Alaska Milk Aces in another best-of-three series in the quarterfinals.

The Kings took the exit in the tourney as they couldn’t set up a decent play in the dying seconds, yielding the game with Egay Echavez being called a traveling violation as he slid with the ball in his possession.

Hiram Fuller slumped to the floor with his face covered by his jersey in utter disappointment while the Barakos whooped it up all over the court as they celebrated their first foray past the classification round since losing Davonn Harp and Mick Pennisi.

"We just kept on carving it out one stone at a time and Ginebra might have felt the pressure," said Red Bull coach Yeng Guiao.

"We made the needed adjustments after not playing the kind of defense we should put up in the first half. And we made the big plays in the end," Guiao added.

Bryan Gahol, Junthy Valenzuela, Jimwell Torion, EJ Feihl and Barron formed the unit which dished out a gung-ho game that opened the door for Red Bull’s comeback from a 27-point deficit at 36-63.

It was the biggest deficit overhauled in the league since the Hapee-RP team came back from 28 points down in toppling Coca-Cola, 87-77, in the 2002 Governors Cup eliminations.

Curiously, the Barakos were back in the thick of things by the end of the third quarter, 65-70 as they held the Kings without a single field goal in the final 5:30.

Keeping the pressure on the Kings, the Barakos came to within a point at 78-79 with Lordy Tugade and Enrico Villanueva taking over Gahol and Feihl at the start of the fourth.

An offensive foul by Torion on Echavez followed immediately by a technical foul called on Guiao enabled the Kings to gain some breathing room, 84-78.

But the Barakos continued to play with grit and guts and eventually surged ahead at 86-85 with time down to 2:56.

After aqn exchange of two charities each from Barron and Fuller, Mark Caguioa rose to the occasion for the Kings with a big offensive rebound plus a foul from Red Bull import that sent him to the stripe with 14 ticks left. He made both as Ginebra had its last taste of the lead 89-88.

Suing for time, Guiao set up a high-post play for Barron versus fuller.

Barron missed a 12-footer off a fake but himself grabbed the offensive rebound and drew a foul from Caguioa on his way for a followup with only six seconds left.

Despite the deafening jeers by the Ginebra throngs, Barron coolly sank the two charities.

Ginebra couldn’t drew a decent play for the last crack at the win as coach Siot Tanquingcen ran out of timeouts.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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