PBA Finals, US Masters up this week
With the masterful comeback of San Miguel Beer to tie sister team Magnolia after two games of the PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven championship last Sunday, the Beermen again loom as heavy favorites to nail a historic fourth straight all-Filipino crown this week.
After blowing a 20-point lead and losing Game 1, 105-103, the Beermen gave the Hotshots little room to entertain thoughts of a monumental follow-up win with a 92-77 rout that reduced the series into a best-of-five affair.
SMB, seeking an eighth all-Filipino crown in its 39th finals appearance since the league opened in 1975, surged ahead in Game 2 by 21 points, 71-50, then finished off Magnolia with a 17-9 run after its 75-57 lead going into the last quarter went down to seven. In Game 1, the Hotshots rallied from 89-75 after three quarters to forge ahead at 99-97 and needed all the breaks in the clutch to pull through.
With its concededly superior bench and starting five led by four-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, experts expect SMB to take control of the series in Game 3 being played at press time on Sunday night.
Game 4 will be held on Wednesday, Game 5 on Friday and if necessary, the extra games will be staged next Sunday and Wednesday.
Just as eagerly awaited this week will be the 82nd US Masters set April 5 to 8 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.
Sergio Garcia of Spain won the first of golf’s four major championships last year with a birdie on the first hole (the 18th) of a sudden death playoff with Justin Rose of England.
Garcia, who finally won one after 73 failed attempts at a Major title, and Rose closed with identical 69s to finish tied at nine-under-par 279, three strokes ahead of 2011 champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa.
Trailing Rose by two, Garcia kicked off his miraculous back nine rally with a par save on the 13th after a drive to an unplayable lie. He birdied 14th then eagled the 15th which Rose birdied to keep his tie for the lead.
Rose birdied the 16th where Garcia missed a shorter putt but then bogeyed the 17th from the trap. Garcia actually had the shorter birdie putt on the 18th to win but missed to forge the playoff.
It was all over when Rose drove into the trees to the right side of the fairway on the 18th in the playoff and Garcia, needing two putts to win, just had one to cap his breakthrough victory.
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