REGAINING its focus just in time, San Mig Coffee nipped Meralco, 88-87, last night to grab the No. 2 spot and the second twice-to-beat privilege in the PBA Governors’ Cup playoffs before a huge Smart Araneta Coliseum crowd.
Peter June Simon and Marc Barroca gunned down crucial baskets down the stretch and import Marqus Blakely distracted the potential game-winning triple by Mario West as the Mixers won a fifth straight game and closed out the eliminations at 6-3.
Idle Petron Blaze, which won its last eight games, earlier finished as the No. 1 squad and will gain the lightest assignment in the quarterfinals. San Mig will draw the No. 7 team, which will be determined after the final playing day tomorrow.
The Bolts got a free ride later in the night and bagged No. 3 just the same after Globalport pounded out a 113-106 overtime victory over Barangay Ginebra that also put the Batang Pier in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
Jay Washington scored a career-high 30 points, had 14 rebounds and five blocks as he joined hands with Sol Mercado in propping the Batang Pier up when the game was on the line.
Mercado finished with 27 points and had eight assists.
Ginebra slipped to 3-5 and would need to defeat Talk ‘N Text tomorrow to get reach the quarterfinals.
The fourth twice-to-beat privilege could possibly be contested by Rain or Shine and Alaska in a one-game playoff. That would happen if the Aces defeat and oust Air21 tomorrow, otherwise, the Elasto Painters will be No. 4.
San Mig scored 34 points in the first quarter and led by 10, but the Mixers dropped just 30 in the next two to trail by as many as nine several times before getting it together in the fourth period.
“I was trying to get under everyone’s skin for them to pick up their intensity level,” San Mig coach Tim Cone said. “Nothing happened until the last 6 to 8 minutes of the game when they realized we had a chance to win it.”
Blakely led the Mixers with 24 and Simon fired 20 even as West paced all Meralco shooters with 31. Cliff Hodge contributed 18 points.
SAN MIG COFFEE 88—Blakely 24, Simon 20, Mallari 8, Yap 8, Pingris 7, Barroca 6, Maliksi 5, Devance 5, Reavis 5, De Ocampo 0.
MERALCO 87—West 31, Hodge 19, Wilson 13, Reyes 6, Hugnatan 6, Salvacion 6, Cortez 4, Cardona 2, Guevarra 0, Ross 0, Allado 0.
Quarters: 34-24, 50-47, 64-70, 88-87
GLOBALPORT 113—Washington 30, Mercado 27, Cummings 19, David 15, Miller 9, Taha 4, Nabong 4, Salvador 3, Lingganay 2.
BRGY. GINEBRA 106—Lowhorn 41, Helterbrand 18, Tenorio 11, Caguioa 11, Ellis 8, Baracael 6, Maierhofer 6, Labagala 3, Mamaril 2, Urbiztondo 0, Wilson 0, Raymundo 0.
Quarters: 24-31, 52-52, 76-77, 101-101, 113-106