Beermen near sweep of Texters, PH Cup Finals
MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Beer got a foot in the finals after topping Talk ‘N Text, 96-95, to gain a commanding 3-0 lead in their 2015 PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinals series Tuesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Alex Cabagnot drew a foul on Tropang Texters rookie Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and made the marginal free throw with 9.2 seconds left before Arwind Santos proved his value at the defensive end in stopping Ranidel de Ocampo’s last-second jumper as time ran out.
“I was expecting Talk ‘N Text to come out stronger and it happened. We weren’t able to have a good start but I told my players that ‘we should not lose our composure and let’s keep attacking them,'” said SMB head coach Leo Austria. “Fortunately, they weren’t able to connect on the last shot. The team made a stop, especially with Arwind forcing Ranidel to take a desperation shot.”
No team has come back from a 3-0 hole and win but Austria doesn’t want to be at the bad end of history and said that his team shouldn’t lose its focus in Game 4.
“We still need to win one more game. We have one foot in but we shouldn’t be complacent because this is a great opportunity for us,” Austria said.
Santos scored a game-high 23 points while June Mar Fajardo had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Beermen, who will shoot for a Finals slot on Friday.
De Ocampo posted 21 points and six rebounds for the Texters, who face a 3-0 series deficit for the first time in franchise history.
Marcio Lassiter fired 17 points before giving up his last foul with 48.3 seconds left to stop a TNT fastbreak off a steal by Jimmy Alapag on a drive attempt by Cabagnot.
Jayson Castro tied the game at 95 with 48.3 ticks left on a foul by Lassiter.
Cabagnot atoned for that crucial turnover after he was fouled by Rosser while taking a jump shot near the free throw line.