San Miguel banked on a late rally to turn back Ginebra, 99-88, for a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup Finals Wednesday.
The Beermen put the Gin Kings away with a furious 17-2 finishing kick in the final five minutes that turned an 86-82 deficit into a double-digit lead.
June Mar Fajardo led the Beermen’s charge with 17 points and 16 rebounds along with three assists and three blocks.
“I thought we’re going to lose again because they came out really strong and we scrambled on both ends but we were able to recover after the first half,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria.
“The players believed in our system and that’s it. We executed some plays especially for June Mar. It was a big factor that we’re able to get the ball to June Mar,” Austria added.
Fajardo asserted himself in the fourth quarter that had Ginebra doubling up on him that freed up San Miguel’s Chris Ross and Alex Cabagnot.
Ross finished with a game-high 24 points that went with eight assists while Cabagnot added 20 points and two steals. The two veteran guards each scored 16 points in the second half.
The Beermen held the Gin Kings to only one field goal in the final five minutes and 27 seconds. Ginebra’s last basket came at the 4:02 mark with Joe Devance giving his team an 88-87 edge.
San Miguel closed out Ginebra with a 12-0 blast capped by a pull-up 3-pointer by Chris Ross with only 10 seconds left that triggered a commotion at the hallway involving Gin Kings coach Tim Cone shortly after the final buzzer sounded.
Cone declined to comment about the incident.
Ginebra playmaker LA Tenorio had 16 points but only scored four in the last two quarters.
Game 4 is on Friday night still at the Big Dome.
The Beermen shot 21-of-29 from the free throw line while the Gin Kings only attempted 5-of-11.