Not this time.
The San Miguel Beermen led by as many as 27 points early in the second quarter, and this time never let go of the double-digit lead, eventually taking a convincing 88-66 Game 4 victory over the Alaska Aces, Wednesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.
Despite a hot start from Alaska’s Calvin Abueva, who had six points early in the period, it was the Beermen took control in the high-scoring affair that broke out in the first quarter. At the halfway point of the period, they led 19-12. Following a 5-0 spurt that saw a trey from Arwind Santos and a jumper from Alex Cabagnot, the Beermen led by as many as 12, 24-12, in the next few minutes of play. After sinking three unanswered triples in the final minute, the Beermen exited the quarter with a 33-16 lead. The Beermen went 6-of-12 from beyond the arc in the opening period, while the Aces on other hand did not take even a single three-point attempt.
The second period saw the Beermen continue to dominate on both ends of the court. Unable to find a comfortable look at the basket, the Aces were held to a dismal eight points in the first eight minutes of the quarter. Powered by a sizzling performance by Cabanot in the quarter, the Beermen managed to close out the period with their lead at a commanding 49-26.The Beermen shot 48.6% from the field for the first half, while the Aces were held to a dismal 29%.
The Beermen led by as many as 29 in the early third quarter, but a 6-0 rally that cut the lead to 23 with around seven minutes left on the clock injected some life to the Alaska campaign. Though the Aces were able to come within 21 points, they however had no answer for San Miguel’s fiery shooting from long range. At the end of the third, San Miguel led 73-49.
Amidst tensions rising anew between Santos and Abueva, the Aces finally broke past the 20-point barrier early in the fourth quarter, trimming the lead to 17, 56-73, with 10 minutes left on the clock. But that was as close as the Aces could come, as the Beermen addressed the challenge by putting on another display of defensive prowess to prevent the run from growing. Still sinking baskets as they pleased, the lead stayed at around 20 for the remainder of the quarter. Entering the last two minutes, San Miguel led by 20, and it was the reserve Beermen on the floor when the final buzzer sounded.
Cabagnot, who had 16 first half points, took home Player of the Game honors after finishing with 22 points. Abueva had 22 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks to lead the Aces. Newly-crowned Best Player of the Conference June Mar Fajardo had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Game 5 of the series will take place on Friday night.
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