San Mig Coffee nips Meralco, locks in no. 2 in PBA Governors’ Cup


Mario West of Meralco (dark) vs Marqus Blakely and Marc Pingris of San Mig Coffee (light). Nuki Sabio/PBA

MANILA, Philippines — San Mig Coffee nosed out Meralco, 88-87, Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to gain a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals of the 2013 PBA Governors’ Cup.

Peter June Simon got the Mixers back and running in the payoff period, but Mark Barroca finished the job with four clutch points in the final minute as San Mig Coffee locked the number two spot.

“We got out to such a good start, I think we took the game for granted and relaxed,” said head coach Tim Cone as San Mig Coffee allowed Meralco outscore them in the second and third quarters, 30-46.

But Simon caught fire and churned out seven of his total 20 points just five and half minutes into the final quarter and gave the Mixers the lead back, 78-76, on a triple.

“It was a collective non effort in the second, but a collective team effort in the fourth,” Cone also said.

Barocca’s last two buckets, meanwhile, gave San Mig Coffee the buffer to survive a frantic windup, which saw the Mixers turn the ball over twice in the dying seconds.

Sunday Salvacion and Mike Cortez unleashed back-to-back triples in Bolts’ final push, 87-88, but Mario West was unable to pounce on a pass interception and misfired his shot as the time ran out.

“This is a really good team, we’re just happy we were able to get through them,” said Cone as San Mig Coffee ended the elimination round with a 6-3 card.

Meralco dropped to 5-4 and awaits the last remaining games of the eliminations to figure out its placing in the playoffs, which starts on Tuesday.

West finished with 31 points, mostly from the stripe, and added eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.

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