The San Miguel Beermen are now one win away from claiming the Governor’s Cup championship after defeating the Alaska Aces, 96-89 in Game 3 of the best-of-seven series held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.
Everyone was involved in Alaska’s offense early as all starters inked in with point production halfway through the first that also helped them build a 15-10 lead. On the other hand, San Miguel had multiple number of turnovers that somewhat slowed down their scoring. Romeo Travis had a fine start to anchor his team with six efficient points to jump start his team’s early advantage. Alaska led by as much as seven but SMB ended the opening frame on a 13-2 scoring run and limiting the Aces to a lone Calvin Abueva basket with seconds to go and take the lead after 12 minutes.
San Miguel held onto their lead with their bench players punching in the early 2nd quarter points. However, Alaska’s surge started with Abueva pouring in the transition baskets after successfully making stops on the other end. SMB had 11 first half turnovers that led to 13 points in favor of the Aces. For San Miguel, the reinsertion back by Reid crawled his team back but Alaska was on hold of momentum. At the end of 24 minutes, Alaska held a four point lead with their non-starters accounting for a total of 24 markers.
Alex Cabagnot’s hot shooting plus June Mar Fajardo’s massive rebounding game took place at the start of the second half to swing back the lead in Beermen’s favor. Meanwhile, the frontcourt duo of Romeo Travis and Sonny Thoss provided the Aces with offensive scoring from the paint and keep the score close. Reid was still bullying his way against Alaska’s defense as he was able to hit the 30-point scoring mark during the quarter. The Aces also took full advantage of San Miguel’s three turnovers late in the third quarter as Chris Banchero scored two layups in the dying moments to give his team the lift heading into the last quarter.
For the majority of the fourth period, the two teams exchanged baskets as the close game started to take place in the frantic pace. Reid was missing badly from the charity stripe that opened up scoring chances for the Aces. However, San Miguel’s clamping defense stood too much in the way of the Aces as Alaska would not have the taste of the lead in the late stretch of the game. After Alaska missed a bunch of perimeter attempts together with Arwind Santos’ blocks, Reid buried a big time trifecta to push the lead to six that served as the exclamation point of the match. During the last minutes, the Beermen came up with the necessary stops to seal the deal against the Aces, who are now one defeat away from being swept.
Despite San Miguel committing more turnovers, 20-6 and Alaska scoring more from the paint, 54-48, the Beermen won the rebounding battle, 58-36.
Reid finished with 41 points despite missing six of his free throws and eight turnovers. Fajardo added another monstrous 14 points and 19 rebound exertion. Romeo Travis tallied 17 but needed 19 shots for it.
San Miguel looks to close the series out on Friday, 7pm still at the Big Dome after the annual PBA Leo Awards at 5pm.
San Miguel(96) – Reid 41, Fajardo 14, Cabagnot 13, Lassiter 8, Santos 8, Espinas 6, Tubid 2, Lutz 2, Semerad 2, Ross 0
Alaska(89) – Travis 17, Abueva 15, Thoss 12, Banchero 8, Casio 7, Dela Rosa 6, Manuel 6, Baguio 5, Exciminiano 4, Menk 4, Hontiveros 3, Jazul 2, Dela Cruz 0
Quarters: 25-21, 48-52, 76-77, 96-89