SMBeer trims deficit to 3-2 | Inquirer Sports
FIGHT ANOTHER DAY

SMBeer trims deficit to 3-2

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 03:07 AM January 28, 2016
SANMIGUEL Beer’s Chris Ross (right) loses the ball under pressure from Alaska’s Ping Exciminiano of Alaska in Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at Smart Araneta Coliseum. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

SANMIGUEL Beer’s Chris Ross (right) loses the ball under pressure
from Alaska’s Ping Exciminiano of Alaska in Game 5 of the PBA
Philippine Cup Finals at Smart Araneta Coliseum. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

GAME TOMORROW (Smart Araneta Coliseum)

7 p.m.—Alaska vs San Miguel Beer

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TWO GAMES ago, when everything seemed lost for the San Miguel Beermen in this best-of-seven title series for the PBA Philippine Cup, coach Leo Austria believed a miracle could be just around the corner for them.

After grinding out a second straight win in overtime over Alaska Wednesday night, the Beermen are getting closer to rounding out that bend.

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San Miguel held the Aces scoreless for the first 3:45 of overtime to pull out an 86-73 victory at Smart Araneta Coliseum that pruned Alaska’s once-imposing lead to 3-2.

Reigning two-time MVP June Mar Fajardo made his first appearance in the series and pumped up the entire team, while Arwind Santos played his finest game in the Finals as the Beermen gathered more steam in their bid to repeat after losing the first three games.

“Everything is possible,” Austria told reporters later. “It’s one-game-at-a-time for us.”

Santos finished with 22 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks to lead the Beermen, who will try to be the first team in the league to erase a 0-3 deficit and win a best-of-seven title series.

Fajardo had 13 points in 16 minutes and looked as if he were still bothered by a twisted left knee.

Alaska failed to execute in overtime for the second consecutive game, even after being the one to forge extension—this time courtesy of a Dondon Hontiveros triple with 45.3 ticks remaining for 67-all.

Coach Alex Compton, when asked what went wrong for the second straight game in extension, said: “Do you see anything in the stats sheets, anyone?”

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Compton pointed to a large discrepancy in free throws awarded and fouls called. San Miguel had 35 freebies against five for Alaska, who were whistled for 20 more fouls.

“I think that has an impact on the game,” Compton went on. “I am just pointing out facts and if you get (those figures) it would be very difficult to win.”

Game 6, a match very few thought was possible, is slated tomorrow also at the Big Dome.

The scores:

SAN MIGUEL BEER 86—Santos 22, Fajardo 13, Cabagnot 12, Lassiter 11, Espinas 8, Ross 8, Lutz 6, De Ocampo 4, Reyes 1, Tubid 1, Arana 0, Heruela 0.

ALASKA 73—Manuel 25, Abueva 12, Banchero 10, Jazul 9, Thoss 4, Casio 3, Exciminiano 3, Hontiveros 3, Baguio 2, Menk 2, Baclao 0, Eman 0.

Quarters: 23-20, 36-36, 52-55, 67-67, 86-73

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TAGS: Alaska Aces, News, PBA, San Miguel Beer, Sports
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