San Miguel Beer scored a 117-110 win over Rain or Shine in Game Four of the best-of-five semifinals of 40th Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.
The Beermen, with the win, earned their 35th championship appearance since joining the league in 1975. They will face the Alaska Aces in a best-of-seven finals.
Import Arizona Reid led the Beermen with 38 points and 11 rebounds while center June Mar Faiardo scored 13 of his 27 points in the third quarter in addition to seven rebounds.
Forward Arwind Santos finished with 15 points plus 14 rebounds and three steals. Marcio Lassiter had 12 points while Alex Cabagnot posted 11 points and seven assists also for the Beermen.
“The players refused to lose and they really liked to win. Their composure is there, but I reminded them that we cannot afford to relax just what happened in Game Two,” said SMB coach Leo Austria.
“Rain or Shine beat us in Game Two despite the fact that we were leading by 20 points.”
Down by two points early in the first period, the Beermen unleashed a 13-2 blitz highlighted by Fajardo’s back-to-back baskets late in the first quarter to establish a 31-20 lead before the second period begins.
San Miguel Beer sustained its momentum in the second quarter answering every Rain or Shine rally to boost its lead to 64-50 at the end of the first half.
The Elasto Paintmasters narrowed the gap to seven points, 50-57, after McKines made two free throws with a minute left before the halftime break.
A 7-0 run capped by Lassiter’s buzzer-beating three-pointer allowed San Miguel Beer to enjoy a comfortable 64-50 halftime lead. Reid led SMB at halftime with 18 points and five rebounds while Lassiter had 12 points.
Fajardo and Santos posted a combined 20 points in the first half for SMB. The Beermen notched more assists than the Elasto Paintmasters 14-7 because of their proper ball handling in the first two periods.
Rain or Shine tried to bounce back early in the second half but was hampered by a technical foul. Elasto Painters’ Jericho Cruz was slapped with a technical foul for punching Santos with seven minutes left in the third frame.
The former Far Eastern University standout made two charities while Alex Cabagnot scored a technical free throw bringing San Miguel Beer’s lead to 74-62.
The Beermen closed the third period with a 17-9 run bringing their lead to 93-74 at the start of the payoff period.
But Rain or Shine unleashed a 14-3 blitz capped by the two baskets of 6’7 center Raymond Almazan in addition to Gabe Norwood’s two charities brining the score to 95-100 with only 6:27 left in the game.
Jeff Chan’s three-pointer narrowed the gap to only four points, 104-108, down with less than three minutes left in the game.
The trio of Santos, Cabagnot and Reid, however, scored in the last two-minutes to seal the win.
Wendell McKines led Rain or Shine with 25 points and 17 rebounds while Jeff Chan had 21 points.