Defending champion San Miguel Beer routed an under manned Rain or Shine 105-92 in Game 4 of the best-of-seven semifinals of Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The 6’10 center June Mar Fajardo, as expected, led the Beermen finishing with 33 points in addition to his 16 rebounds, six block shots and three assists to allow SMB to tie the series 2-2.
“We finally controlled the tempo of the game because the players followed the game plan,” said San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria during the post-game interview. “In the future we need to be smart especially in the end game. I am happy they responded; they have a different approach this game.”
Guard Marcio Lassiter posted 20 points via 4-of-4 shooting beyond the arc while forward Arwind Santos had 19 points; Chris Ross had 13 and Alex Cabagnot 12 also for the Beermen.
Rookies Maverick Ahanmisi and Don Trollano led Rain or Shine with 15 points apiece.
Rain or Shine played without the injured center Raymond Almazan and guard Jericho Cruz.
San Miguel Beer, playing with explosive intensity in first half, obviously fought harder than their previous games in the series establishing a 28-25 lead in the first quarter. Sustaining its onslaught, SMB then stretched their lead to 53-46 at the half behind the 16 points and 11 points of Lassiter and Fajardo, respectively.
Santos and Fajardo joined forces down the stretch to tally a combined 25 points. San Miguel Beer had 37 points compared to Rain or Shine’s 22 in the third period en route to posting a huge 90-68 advantage at the start of fourth canto.
The Beermen further padded their lead 96-75 in the fourth period, which the Elasto Painters found too huge to overcome.
Meanwhile, Alaska will try to go for the kill at 7 p.m. tonight when it takes on GlobalPort in Game 5 of the other semifinals battle at the Araneta Coliseum. Armed with a 3-1 advantage, the Aces need only one more victory to secure their 29th overall finals appearance in the league.
But the Batang Pier, who finished the elimination round with 7-4 win-loss record, are bent on pulling off a miracle despite being down by two games in the series. “We just need to stay positive to bounce back,” said guard Terrence Romeo. “So far, the coaches remain positive.”
After posting a 107-93 win in Game 1, the Batang Pier lost to the Aces in their next three games. They were defeated by Alaska in Game 2 (76-100), Game 3 (69-82) and Game 4 (84-109).
“We don’t under estimate them [GlobalPort]. I hope we win it on Tuesday,” said Alaska mentor Alex Compton, who will bank once again on Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel, Sonny Thoss, RJ Jazul, Dondon Hontiveros, Chris Banchero and Jayvee Casio.
“We really need to give our best. After they beat us in Game 1, we proved to them that they can’t go all the way in the series. We beat them in three straight games,” said Abueva. “We are going to get it on Tuesday [first finals spot].”
Besides Romeo, GlobalPort is pinning its hope on Stanley Pringle, Keith Jensen, Joseph Yeo, Anthony Jay Washington, Anthony Semerad and Billy Mamaril to stay alive in the series.