San Miguel goes up, 3-2 | Inquirer Sports

San Miguel goes up, 3-2

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 04:17 AM January 17, 2015

JUNE Mar Fajardo (middle) of San Miguel Beer literally splits the defense of Sonny Thoss (left) and Erik Menk of Alaska in Game 5 of the Philippine Cup Finals that was still being played at press time. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

JUNE Mar Fajardo (middle) of San Miguel Beer literally splits the defense of Sonny Thoss (left) and Erik Menk of Alaska in Game 5 of the Philippine Cup Finals that was still being played at press time. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

CHILL the bubbly—err, the San Miguel Beer—after the Beermen withstood the best that Alaska could offer last night and moved on the threshold of a first PBA Philippine Cup in well over a decade.

On a night when two MVPs proved too much to handle for the Aces, San Miguel eked out a hard-fought 93-88 victory for a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven showdown for the season’s most prestigious championship at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos scored 19 points each and combined for 22 rebounds and 10 blocks as they typified the Beermen’s no-nonsense stand on both ends that enabled the Beermen to win a second straight game in the series.

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It was the closest game of these title playoffs thus far, and the Beermen were all poise and composure against an Alaska side that stuck to their coattails all night and had a chance to turn things around until the very end.

“I am very happy because we survived the pressure defense of Alaska,” San Miguel coach Leo Austria said. “We were able to counter their game plan.

“I am very happy because it is very hard to beat Alaska, they are well-prepared and they do different things each game,” he added.

Fajardo, the reigning MVP who won the Best Player of the Conference award before Game 4 on Wednesday, hit a nonchalantly-taken jumper from about 14 feet in front of Sonny Thoss’ face with 3:08 remaining for 89-82, that pinned Alaska to the ropes.

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The Aces crept to within 86-89 after a Calvin Abueva layup with 25.3 seconds remaining, before Santos, who was the MVP in 2013, capped the win with two free throws off Cyrus Baguio heading into the final 18.1.

Santos also changed two Vic Manuel layups from there that kept the Aces at bay.

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San Miguel can win its first all-Filipino crown since 2001 tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. also at the fabled Big Dome floor.

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TAGS: Aces, Alaska, Beermen, San Miguel

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