The reigning Philippine Cup champions fought tooth and nail to avenge their last season’s seminals demise in the hands of Barangay Ginebra. And this time, they made sure that they’d have the last laugh after defying the very tough to beat Ginebra side, 72-71, in the main event of this week’s PBA Philippine Cup Sunday, at the big crowd of Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
San Miguel got out of the slugfest after putting up a nine-point cushion in the fourth courtesy of Alex Cabagnot and Ronald Tubid who hit crucial shots to combine for 28 points. June Mar Fajardo then, who was contained on most parts of the defense-oriented game, broke free in the fourth to keep Ginebra at bay.
The three-time MVP was limited to only nine points after averaging 20.2 points in seven outings. But when the Beermen was looking poised to notch their seventh victory, Barangay Ginebra chanelled their ‘never say die’ attitude to cut the deficit to only two points, 72-70, entering the final minutes of the payoff period. Joe Devance and LA Tenorio made it possible after converting one triple apiece down the stretch. In the next possession, Ginebra has done a great job in closing out as the Beermen missed their attempt.
However, they failed to box out Arwind Santos as the last season’s AFC Finals MVP grabbed not one, but two important boards to give his team extra possessions. The window was still open for Barangay Ginebra after Marcio Lassiter didn’t nail any of his shots from the free throw line, with 11 ticks to go. But LA Tenorio’ s last seconds heave did not fall as San Miguel takes home the win and made it a 7-1 record for them while handing the GinKings their fourth loss after seven outings.
SMB 72 – Cabagnot 16, Tubid 12, Santos 10, Fajardo 9, Lassiter 7, Espinas 7, De Ocampo 5, Ross 4, Garcia 2, Heruela 0
GINEBRA 70 – Aguilar 17, Mercado 11, Tenorio 8, Devance 7, Ferrer 7, Thompson 6, Cruz 6, Ellis 2, Mariano 2, Marcelo 2, Caguioa 2
Quarterscores: 15-17, 32-31, 53-49, 72-70