MANILA, Philippines – James Yap came alive at just the right time to push San Mig Coffee past Global Port, 82-78, Wednesday in the 38th PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Yap finished with 16 points, 11 of which came in the final 5:32, including a tough jumper that gave the Mixers the lead for good, 79-78, with 38.8 seconds remaining.
“You’re just not going to walk on the court and expect to win basketball games,” said San Mig Coffee head coach Tim Cone in a sigh of relief.
The Mixers stared at a 15-point third quarter deficit, 32-47, and trailed by one, 77-78, after Willie Miller drew a foul on Marc Pingris for two free throws with 50.7 ticks left.
“Coach Glenn Capacio did a great job; they played quick lineups. We had to take Yancy (de Ocampo) off the floor to keep up with the speed of the game,” Cone said.
Mark Barroca sealed the Mixers’ fourth win in six games with three free throws in the last 3.1 seconds.
Miller, who went against Yap in a virtual shootout down the stretch, had a chance to put Global Port back on top but just couldn’t convert on a drive after getting by Pingris’ defense.
Still sans the injured Gary David, Batang Pier relied on Miller in crunchtime. Miller responded with 17 of his 19 points in the second half.
“Ping did a great job on bringing us back in. There’s just nothing easy in this league,” added Cone, whose team is now tied with Alaska and Rain or Shine in second place.
“I wish we could be a little bit smoother, move the ball better,” he said.
Batang Pier absorbed their sixth setback in seven stints but Capacio remained upbeat despite his team’s third straight loss.
“I’m proud of my team kahit ganito record namin.”