MANILA, Philippines—No stranger to being in the pressure cooker, San Mig Coffee showed its championship pedigree and put a halt to Air21’s magical run.
The Mixers broke down the defense that made last night’s KO match possible and ripped the Express to shreds, 99-83, at Smart Araneta Coliseum to advance to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals and keep their championship streak alive.
Draining their outside shots early, the rubber match of this best-of-five series was all about the Mixers, who opened up commanding leads right in the second period to coast along and seal a 3-2 series win.
James Yap hit 3-of-5 triple tries in the first two periods alone and Peter June Simon had two before the half, which the Mixers closed out sitting on a 50-33 bubble that the Express were never able to put a dent on the rest of the way.
San Mig thus marched on to square off with undefeated Talk ‘N Text in another race-to-three affair for the title starting Friday, with the Mixers bidding to hold all three PBA jewels in two different seasons.
“Our guys came to play today,” San Mig coach Tim Cone told reporters after gaining a shot at his 17th career title and improving the all-time record. “It was total team effort. We were hitting shots, we were defending. Everything clicked for us tonight.”
The Express, who were playing in the first Final Four series of their PBA existence, lost a do-or-die game here after three magnificent escape acts. They came out tight and later on fell to some bad on-court decisions when the Mixers got their stride.
San Mig also shut down Wesley Witherspoon, holding the reedy Air21 import to just seven points in the first half and without a triple in the first two periods.
On Monday, in a 94-91 Game 4 win, Witherspoon shot 21 points in the first half alone built around five three-point shots.
SAN MIG COFFEE 99—Mays 24, Simon 18, Yap 15, Barroca 11, Mallari 10, Devance 7, Pingris 7, Reavis 5, Melton 2, Gaco 0, Sangalang 0, Cawaling 0, Holstein 0.
AIR21 83—Witherspoon 21, Taulava 20, Cardona 13, Yeo 10, Borboran 7, Camson 6, Ramos 3, Villanueva 2, Atkins 1, Poligrates 0, Burtscher 0.
Quarters: 21-13, 50-33, 81-58, 99-83