Beermen make semis, hold off Painters
ANTIPOLO – RR Garcia waxed hot and carried San Miguel over Rain or Shine, 98-91, to advance to the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals Sunday at Ynares Center here.
The 5-foot-11 guard came off the bench and fired 25 points on 5-of-7 shooting from threes, to go along with four rebounds and three assists as the Beermen stretched their winning streak to 10 games.
“I have to commend RR because he stepped up. If not for his outside shooting, we would have been in trouble,” SMB coach Leo Austria said of Garcia, who fired 12 markers in the fourth quarter.
June Mar Fajardo had a double-double with 14 markers and 14 boards, while Chris Ross got 13 points, four rebounds, and four assists.
Arwind Santos tallied 13 markers and 12 boards, and Marcio Lassiter fired 11 points and five rebounds as the Beermen flaunted their depth.
Garcia led the San Miguel breakaway in the third quarter where they led by as much as 16, 54-38, before Rain or Shine chopped down the deficit to six, 61-55 midway through the period.
Gabby Espinas made a big difference on defense as he held the fort on one end to allow the Beermen to bring the lead back to 13, 68-55.
The E-Painters refused to go away with Beau Belga cutting the deficit to five, 91-86 with 1:10 remaining before Santos scored four points in the clutch to put the game away.
“I’m a little bit worried going to this game because we know that Rain or Shine is a contender. We’re having a hard time and they kept on catching up. I still believe that Rain or Shine is a tough team but unfortunately for them, our players really wanted to win,” said Austria.
San Miguel faces the winner of the TNT-GlobalPort matchup in a best-of-seven semifinals series.
Belga paced Rain or Shine with 18 points and four rebounds, while Jay Washington registered 16 markers and eight boards.
SAN MIGUEL 98 – Garcia 25, Fajardo 14, Santos 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, Ponferrada 10, Yap 9, Chan 6, Cruz 4, Matias 2, Tolomia 0, Tiu 0, Trollano 0.
Quarters: 28-21, 51-38, 74-67, 98-91.
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