Beermen back in finals, knock off Aces in Game 4
Defending champion San Miguel Beer withstood a fourth quarter fightback by Alaska, 104-99, to book a return trip to the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals Sunday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Renaldo Balkman and June Mar Fajardo each had a double-double while guards Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross hit timely baskets down the stretch for the Beermen, who are making their 40th appearance in the championship round.
Fajardo, the reigning four-time MVP, posted 26 points and 12 rebounds while Balkman notched 23 points and 16 rebounds that went with five assists.
“Alaska has been one of the toughest teams in the league for the last three years and it was very evident in this series even though they were down 0-2,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria.
Cabagnot added 18 points, including a step back 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down and two free throws with three seconds left to slam the door shut on the Aces.
The veteran playmaker also had nine assists, five rebounds and three steals.
Ross also finished in double-digits with 17 points, 12 coming from downtown. His last triple momentarily stopped an Alaska run midway through the final frame.
Diamon Simpson led the Aces with 24 points, 21 rebounds and three blocks while Vic Manuel scored 20.
Most of Manuel’s points in the second half, however, were too late. His first field goal in the last two quarters came with only 1:09 left as he was shut down after scoring 13 points in the first half.
Simon Enciso kept Alaska in the fight in the fourth quarter. He wound up with 19 points and seven assists.