PBA: San Miguel edges Bay Area, avoids semis sweep
MANILA, Philippines—San Miguel Beer hit the important shots and then pulled out the necessary stops on Sunday night to escape Bay Area by the skin of its teeth, 98-96, and stay alive in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-five semifinals.
Import Devon Scott and cornerstone June Mar Fajardo turned in a double-double to dig the Beermen out of an early, twin-digit rut, while Simon Enciso drilled an open triple to douse the Dragon’s late fightback and bring back the vaunted crew on top with 12 ticks remaining.
“Buhay pa. Buhay pa (We’re still alive),” a relieved Fajardo said in the post game presser of Game 3 at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City. “Sabi nga ni Pops (coach Leo Austria) kung ano pa laman ng tangke namin kailangan nang ilabas (Like what coach Leo Austria said, we need to give whatever’s left in our tank).”
“Marami parin kaming lapses pero buti nalang nakuha namin ‘tong panalong to kasi do-or-die kami (We’re fortunate to get this win despite a lot of lapses),” the six-time Most Valuable Player added.
Scott had 25 points and 14 rebounds, while Fajardo posted 21 and 16. Enciso, for his part, chipped in 16 more, while Terrence Romeo 13 off the bench as San Miguel kept alive its title-retention bid in the midseason showcase.
Scott, the American backup who has had a see-saw performance for the Beermen this tournament, erased Kobey Lam’s layup with seven seconds remaining.
The Dragons drew 34 points and 14 rebounds from Canadian reinforcement Andrew Nicholson while 17 points, seven rebounds, and six assists from Zhu Songwei.
The guest club had three more players scoring in twin digits, including Lam who starred in the team’s Game 2 win.
Bay Area is looking to become the first guest team to win a PBA crown since Ron Jacob’s Northern Consolidated which won it all by way of a sweep during the league’s 1985 Reinforced Conference.
San Miguel will try to annex a second victory this Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City which will prompt a decider that takes place two days later.