Reigning champion San Miguel Beer weath-ered the late-game rally of Rain or Shine and the Beermen whipped the Elasto Painters, 98-91, on Sunday to move to the semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo on Sunday.
Guard Ryan Roose Garcia finished with 25 points, four rebounds and three assists, while center Jun Mar Fajardo added 14 points to lead the top seed Beermen eliminate the No. 8-ranked Rain or Shine squad in the tournament.
“I know Rain or Shine is really a contender and we’re having a hard time to beat them,” said San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria during the post game press conference. “I still believe that Rain or Shine is a tough team. Unfortunately for them, our team really wanted to win.”
Forward Arwind Santos and Chris Ross added 13 points apiece, Marcio Lassiter had 11 points while Gabby Espinas added 10 points as the defending champions displayed their balanced attack to move to the best-of-seven semifinal series.
“I want to commend my players especially RR (Garcia) because he stepped up,” Austria added.
It was the Beermen’s 14th semifinal appearances, 10 in the Philippine Cup. It was also San Miguel’s 10th straight win–the longest streak so far since Talk ‘N Text’s 13 in the 2014 Commissioner’s Cup.
Garcia shot 5-of-7 from the three-point territory and hit a perfect 6-of-6 in the free throw area.
Beau Belga finished with 18 points to lead Rain or Shine.
The Beermen built a 28-21 lead after the first quarter behind the 12 points of Ross and padded their lead to 49-34 edge with still 3:15 before settling to a 51-38 halftime advantage.
Fajardo gave San Miguel a 60-46 lead but the Elasto Painters unleashed a rally and moved within seven, 67-74, entering the final period.
Rain or Shine threatened anew as it cut the Beermen’s lead to five, 91-96, with 37 seconds left but San Miguel Beer leaned on Santos’ timely putback to put the game out of reach.
San Miguel will meet the winner of the GlobalPort-Talk ‘N Text quarterfinal series. KaTropa are ahead, 1-0, in their best-of-three series.
Hotshots, Katropa aim for Final Four slot today
The Star Hotshots of coach Chito Victolero and the Talk ‘N Text KaTropa of coach Nash Racela gun for semifinal seats as they face separate foes in Game 2 of their respective best-of-three quarterfinal series on Monday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots face the Phoenix Petroleum at 4:15 p.m. in the first game to be followed by the 7 p.m. game between the KaTropa and Batang Pier.
After coming off an impressive 114-83 win over the Fuel Masters on Saturday in Game 1, the Hotshots try to close out the series and move to the semis.
“We will try our best to win tomorrow and close out the series, but we know it is very hard because Phoenix will prepare hard for us and will also go all out tomorrow to even the series,” said Victolero. “We just need to focus and have mental toughness for 48 minutes.”
The KaTropa posted a 109-101 win in Game 1 to move closer for the semis. Racela hopesl to limit once again the production of GlobalPort’s Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle to have a better shot for the win.
“We have to play solid defense against Romeo and Pringle,” said Racela. “Same objective and that’s to limit their touches. It takes the effort of the whole team. I’m not satisfied yet to what we’ve shown so far. Still a lot of things to do.”
SAN MIGUEL 98 – Garcia 25, Fajardo 14, Sntos 13, Ross 13, Lassiter 11, Espinas 10, Cabagnot 9, Tubid 3, De Ocampo 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 91 – Belga 18, Washington 16, Norwood 14, Ahanmisi 12, Ponferada 10, Yap 9, Chan 6, Cruz 4, Matias 2, Tolomia 0, Tiu 0, Trollano 0.
Quarter Scores: 28-21, 51-38, 74-67, 98-91.