San Miguel’s four-peat quest continues after ousting Ginebra
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Mar 17, 2018 08:59 PM
June Mar Fajardo and the rest of San Miguel will be back on the stage they have owned for the last four years
San Miguel’s shot at a rare fourth consecutive championship in the PBA Philippine Cup is as good as it ever was.
Yet again leaning on the overwhelming talent and cohesion of their starting unit, the Beermen frustrated Ginebra once more with a 100-94 win on Saturday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
All five starters were in double-digits for the defending champions led by June Mar Fajardo who had 25 points on top of nine rebounds, three assists, and one block.
Marcio Lassiter chipped in his own 23 markers while Arwind Santos posted an 11-point, 13-rebound double-double.
With the two teams all even at 94 inside the last four minutes, however, it was back-to-back hits from Alex Cabagnot that granted San Miguel the lead it would protect until the final buzzer.
From there, their defense also toughened up as they allowed no more makes from their opponents. “Our players refused to lose dahil alam nila ang importance ng game na ito,” head coach Leo Austria said.
Coming off a resounding rout the last time around, the Beermen fell victim to the Gin Kings’ strong start and fell behind by as much as 12 in the second quarter. “Alam namin na ang Ginebra will come out hard because their backs were against the wall,” Austria said.
Slowly but surely, though, they made their way back and ultimately imposed their will anew.
With that, the defending champions will be back in the championship round for the fourth time in a row. There, they will vie for a fourth title in a row.
On the other hand, Ginebra bows out of the tournament after finding no answers for San Miguel’s balanced offense and zone defense in the last two games.
Japeth Aguilar pounded in 32 points while Scottie Thompson pumped in his second career triple-double of 10 points, 16 assists, and 16 rebounds, but neither of them were a factor in the last two minutes.
SAN MIGUEL 100 — Fajardo 25, Lassiter 23, Ganuelas-Rosser 14, Cabagnot 12, Santos 11, Espinas 5, Ross 5, De Ocampo 4, Pessumal 1.
GINEBRA 94 — J. Aguilar 32, Mercado 14, Thompson 10, Devance 9, Ferrer 8, Tenorio 8, R. Aguilar 7, Cruz 4, Caguioa 2, Caperal 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 25-34, 55-55, 83-76, 100-94.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.