If it hadn’t been for Alex Cabagnot, Game Four of San Miguel’s semifinal clash with the Alaska Aces on Sunday might have veered away from the Beermen.
The Crunchman lived up to his billing once more, scoring seven of the Beermen’s last 10 points of the bout to help his side escape the dangerous and upset-hungry Alaska Aces, 104-99, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
“I’m happy to see Alex Cabagnot, ‘yung kanyang pagiging clutch, kanina andoon na naman,” praised Beermen head coach Leo Austria of the gunslinging guard.
Cabagnot filled up his stat line in the victory, scoring 18 points on a 47 percent-shooting clip along with a game-high nine assists, five rebounds, and three steals in the 35 minutes and 49 seconds he graced the floor.
“I have to give the credit to the coaching staff, the management, all the support staff for re-adjusting our game plan and refocusing on what we have to fix,” said the 35-year-old moments after the match. “I’m glad we fixed it today.
“Coach is gonna put me where he’s gonna put me. It’s not gonna motivate me any less or more. I’m gonna play my game and I’m gonna help my team as much as possible – either coming off the bench or playing starting five.”
What makes Sunday’s victory even sweeter is that it had brought San Miguel to the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup Finals — a chance for them to defend their crown, which they won last season at the expense of rivals TNT KaTropa.
Moreover, they have just earned a shot of winning their 26th overall championship.
But for Cabagnot, there’s practically nothing to celebrate for the Beermen, as they have yet to determine which team between Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters will they play for the title.
Ginebra is currently leading the series, 2-1, and has an opportunity to close it out on Monday, July 23.
“We can’t celebrate too much,” warned Cabagnot, the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup Finals MVP.
“We have to stay on an even keel because maganda rin yung opponent namin whoever it’s gonna be – Rain or Shine or Ginebra.”