PBA Finals: San Miguel clobbers Ginebra by 38 points for 2-1 lead
San Miguel pulled away in the third quarter and dismantled Barangay Ginebra, 132-94, for a pivotal 2-1 series lead in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen have tasted some momentum after getting stunned by the Gin Kings in the opening game, winning their last two games by an average of 31.5 points.
From a close 53-51 lead at the half, San Miguel pummeled Ginebra with a 39-21 barrage and jumped to a 92-72 advantage heading into the fourth.
But the Beermen were not done yet. They opened the fourth quarter with a 15-5 run capped off by Alex Cabagnot’s jumper to push the lead to 107-77 with 7:17 left in the game.
San Miguel head coach Leo Austria gave his team just one instruction when they started to build up steam, and that was to continue their offensive barrage against the downtrodden Gin Kings.
Austria’s instructions seemed to have unleashed the Beermen’s hidden monster as they tied the league record for the largest win in the finals, a record that once solely belonged to Alaska when it beat San Miguel 99-61 in Game 6 of the 1998 Philippine Cup.
“I told them ‘no let up on offense’ and that’s what happened,” said Austria. “This win, though it is a blowout, this is just one win and there’s a long way to go.”
Austria, nonetheless, is surprised with the outcome.
“This is a championship game and we’re expecting a close fight, but I have to give credit to my players and I can see that they really want to win.”
Renaldo Balkman led San Miguel with 28 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and three blocks while Chris Ross, bloodied forehead and all, inspired the Beermen with 23 points, on 7-of-13 shooting from deep, seven rebounds, five assists, and four steals.
Reigning four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo also broke the 20-point barrier with 22 points and 15 rebounds.
Christian Standhardinger has 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench while Marcio Lassiter played distributor with 12 points and nine assists.
Justin Brownlee carried Ginebra with 32 points and 11 boards.
The Beermen can move closer to another title with a win on Game 4 on Friday.
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