San Mig seizes lead
We hit big shots.
That was how San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone summed things up last night, moments after a 114-103 victory over Petron Blaze gave his Mixers command of the PLDT Telpad PBA Governors’ Cup’s best-of-seven title series for the first time at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Tonight, we were a big-shot team,” Cone said after different men helped fend off the Boosters with crucial triples and outside shots that eventually led to a 3-2 series lead. “Our next game is going to be a lot harder than this one. I guarantee you that.”
San Mig hit 8-of-15 triples, made almost 60 percent of its two-point attempts, and with Marqus Blakely shooting 9-for-17 from the stripe, was a 65 percent free throw-shooting team in the highest-scoring game of the series thus far.
“Our defense wasn’t that great tonight,” Cone explained. “But we scored 114 and obviously, we hit some shots. They defended us well and we kicked out (passes) and we hit some shots.”
Yancy De Ocampo was one man who dramatized Cone’s statement on the floor, hitting three straight jumpers in the same spot which kept the Boosters at bay and set the tables up for the breakaway.
From 97-94, PJ Simon completed a three-point play; Alex Mallari drilled a triple that beat the 24-second shot clock and Simon capped the run with another five points that opened up a 108-94 lead going into the final 5:45.
And after the Boosters had come within 108-102, James Yap, the former two-time MVP, hit a trey and then canned a floating one-handed jumper from the keyhole for a 113-102 lead entering the final two minutes.
Blakely finished with 30 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists and Mark Barroca matched his career-high with 22 markers and established a new career mark in assists with 10 to lead the Mixers.
And San Mig will take the first of those cracks on Wednesday, with Cone having just one game plan in mind: “We’ll see if we can find a way to keep them uncomfortable, keep them guessing.”
Air21, then under current Ateneo head coach Bo Perasol, and Jong Uichico were the last coaches to blow 3-2 leads in a best-of-seven title series, with Perasol losing to Barangay Ginebra in the 2008 Fiesta Conference and Uichico suffering the same fate a year later.
Elijah Millsap paced the Boosters with 37 points and June Mar Fajardo scattered 23 markers. Both finished with a combined 30 rebounds.
Arwind Santos, crowned just two nights before as the season MVP, was a dud for the second straight game. He finished with just two points—equaling his season-low—and had just four rebounds in 18 minutes. Santos was out of the game from 8:51 in the third until the final 2:04.
“San Mig just played really good basketball tonight. They shot the ball really well,” said coach Gee Abanilla. “I think they really played good defense against us. We are down, but certainly we are not out.
“We will use the next two days to come up with a better game plan.”