The San Miguel Beermen regained its deadly form and dismantled the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 102-81, to move a win away from booking a trip to the 2018 Philippine Cup Finals, Thursday night at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Now with a commanding 3-1 series lead, the reigning, three-time All-Filipino champions have the chance to formalize their entry into the Big Dance in Game Five on Saturday, March 17, 6:30 PM at the Cuneta Astrodome.
“Maybe that’s the reason why we won this game, ano. Siguro magandang regalo sa ating birthday. Sabi nila kapag may birthday nasayo ang swerte,” said coach Leo Austria, who had celebrated his 60th birthday yesterday, March 14.
“Pero the one thing na masasabi ko dito sa game na ito, energy ang big factor,” added the Perpetual Coach of the Year. “We were able to negate whatever they want because of the energy, and we’re able to run our game plan.”
Marcio Lassiter led the Beermen’s well-deployed attack with 23 points, six assists, and four rebounds. Alex Cabagnot bounced back from a poor Game Three outing with 19 points on 65 percent shooting with eight dimes.
Ginebra actually had San Miguel’s number early on with a 12-6 lead, but the former started to commit a bevy of turnovers. It then led to 11 points for San Miguel and gave the Beermen a 32-22 cushion at the end of the opening frame.
From there, a one-sided show in favor of the Beermen started. Their lead even ballooned to as much as 29 points, 84-55, after an 11-2 scoring spree — ended by Von Pessumal’s three-pointer — with 1:47 left in the third chapter.
“Game Five, we’ll see what will happen,” said Austria. “What I’m trying to have with our team is ‘yung energy. That’s very crucial.”
Arwind Santos had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Beermen, and June Mar Fajardo made 14 and 13. Matt Ganuelas-Rosser played his best game in the playoffs with 12 markers, nine assists, and six reboubds in nearly 35 minutes.
Chris Ross only saw action for eight minutes and 47 seconds due to his leg injury, but sto managed to produce 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the floor — 3-of-3 from beyond the arc — alongside two rebounds and two assists.
Japeth Aguilar led Ginebra with 31 points and 13 rebounds. LA Tenorio was his only support with 20 points, three dimes, and two steals.
San Miguel 102 — Lassiter 23, Cabagnot 19, Santos 16, Fajardo 14, Ganuelas-Rosser 12, Ross 11, Espinas 4, Pessumal 3, Agovida 0, De Ocampo 0, Heruela 0, Lanete 0, Vigil 0.
Ginebra 81 — J. Aguilar 31, Tenorio 20, Cruz 9, Mercado 5, Caguioa 3, Caperal 3, Ferrer 3, Devance 2, Manuel 2, Mariano 2, Thompson 1, R. Aguilar 0.
Quarterscores: 32-22, 58-41, 84-58, 102-81.