San Miguel took another step in its conquest of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup and eliminated Star with a 109-102 win in Game 4 of their semifinals series Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Beermen now await the victor between Ginebra and TNT in another finals return after they dispatched the Hotshots, 3-1.
San Miguel seemingly were in cruise control late in the game, sitting comfortably on a 93-76 lead. The Hotshots, however, quietly crept into the deficit cutting it to seven, 93-86, with a 10-0 run.
Star continued to harass San Miguel’s lead well into the final two minutes of the game with Paul Lee hitting a clutch triple to cut the Beermen’s lead to three, 101-98, with 1:25 left.
But Marcio Lassiter and defending four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo weathered the storm for the Beermen hitting their free throws to put a 107-100 distance between them and the Hotshots with 14 seconds left in the game.
“We’re back in the finals and many people expected us to be in this position and we’re so happy with this hard working bunch of players because they showed their championship caliber,” said Beermen head coach Leo Austria.
The Beermen are chasing their first Commissioner’s Cup title since 2010 and fifth overall championship under Austria.
San Miguel had a plethora of offensive options to choose from and four Beermen managed to eclipse the 20-point mark.
Alex Cabagnot produced a team-high 26 points to go along six rebounds and six assists while Chris Ross filled up the stat sheets with 24 points, four rebounds, 10 assists, and five steals.
Fajardo tallied up 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds while Charloes Rhodes had 21 points and 10 boards.
Ricardo Ratliffe finished with 36 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Hotshots.