Saturday, March 1, 2014

Mark Barroca and Ian Sanggalang sparked San Mig Coffee's finishing kick. By Yoyo Sarmenta

Mark Barroca solidified himself as one of the premier point guards in the league. He also solidified his status as one of San Mig Coffee’s go-to-guys. Whatever the Mixers needed - steals, rebounds, defensive stops, scoring, leadership, and extra caffeine - Barroca provided.

Barroca’s edge: he always has that eff-you vibe. Like he absolutely won’t back down from anyone. He faced Jimmy Alapag and Jayson Castro and won. He faced LA Tenorio and won. He faced Paul Lee and won.

Consider Barroca’s 2014 PBA Philippine Cup Finals moment. He sized up Gabe Norwood, the best defender of ROS. He took Norwood, one on one. He froze Norwood with a hesitation move. Then, he pulled up for a dagger three.


Three points.

Then, who wasn’t impressed with rookie Ian Sanggalang? Who wasn’t impressed with his repertoire of moves at the post? He showed the up-and-under, the reverse layup, the stop-spin-baby hook combo and the dreaded “that-sorta-looks-like-a-bad-shot-but-O-M-G-it-went-in” move. For ROS, that last move hurt the most.

It was fitting that Sangalang and Barroca took over in the fourth quarter. Sanggalang started the flurry with an array of post moves while Barroca took the reigns, finished their destructive run and brought the Mixers home.

I know Tim Cone became the most successful coach in the PBA by garnering his 16th title. But San Mig Coffee’s young players also set milestones in the finals. History smiled upon Barroca and Sanggalang in Game 6. History clearly had a plan. Not even a walkout could slow it down. YS

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