THIS time, it was San Mig Coffee’s turn to pull out a win with its prime player not at his best.
The Mixers got to live another day in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals after pounding out a 79-67 Game 5 victory over Rain or Shine even with former two-time MVP James Yap out for majority of the second half because of foul trouble at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Marc Pingris scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field and had 10 rebounds, typifying San Mig’s solid physical stand that ultimately cut the Elasto Painters’ best-of-seven series lead to 3-2.
Game 6 is scheduled on Jan. 3 at Mall of Asia Arena and Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao will have a lot of time to dissect what happened, as his big guns were jammed for the first time in the series.
San Mig had just a two-point lead at the half and looked doomed with still 10:13 left in the third quarter when Yap picked up his fifth foul, an offensive variety while going for a drive against Jireh Ibañes.
“Everybody stepped up for their leader, James,” San Mig coach Tim Cone said proudly. “They stepped up when we needed them. It was a tough game and we are going to do this one (game) at a time.
“They won two straight games against us and I believe we can also win two straight against them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Alaska has momentum on its side today when the Aces break their 2-2 tie with Talk ‘N Text in their semifinal series at Mall of Asia Arena.
Coming off a 104-99 triumph Friday night, the Aces take the floor at 6 p.m., looking to put more pressure on the ‘three-peat’-seeking Tropang Texters and continue their overachieving ways.
SAN MIG COFFEE 79—Devance 20, Pingris 18, Simon 16, Barroca 11, Reavis 6, Villanueva 3, Gonzales 3, Yap 2, Intal 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 67—Rodriguez 14, Cruz 9, Lee 8, Ibanes 8, Matias 7, Norwood 5, Belga 4, Quinahan 4, Tang 3, Chan 3, Tiu 2, Arana 0.
Quarters: 17-15, 31-29, 52-50, 79-67