San Mig Coffee survives Petron to bag PBA crown

STOPPED. The Mixers stopped the Boosters run to the top. Photo by Rappler/Josh Albelda.

MANILA, Philippines — And the underdogs made it.

San Mig Coffee survived a grueling matchup with Petron Blaze and rose with an 87-77 win to bag the 2013 PBA Governor’s Cup title before more than 21, 000 fans on Friday night, October 25 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 

Big man Joe Devance banked in two triples in a two-minute stretch that saw the Mixers turn a slim one-point lead into a 74-65 bubble with a little over 8 minutes left in the game.

The Boosters attempted to come back behind import Elijah Millsap, but the top-seeded Petron crew failed to get support from its locals as Junemar Fajardo missed 4 straight free-throws and league MVP Arwind Santos vanished in the most crucial moments.

With two minutes left and San Mig Coffee up, 78-75, the Boosters had a chance to draw closer before Millsap turned the ball over, enabling Mixers import Marqus Blakely to go all the way for an easy basket that gave his team an 80-75 lead with 1:47 remaining.

Santos sank a basket but Blakely quickly retaliated to bring the lead back to 82-77 with 1:09 left on the clock.

Finals MVP Marc Pingris split his charities in the ensuing play to make it 83-77 with 46.8 seconds remaining then Millsap and Santos failed to drain shot attempts for Petron.

However, James Yap could not pull the final nail on the Boosters’ coffin, missing two free-throw shots to give Petron a final stab at a comeback with 30.4 seconds left.

Pingris then cemented his status as the PBA’s top defender and swatted away a looper by Millsap, leading to title-sealing free-throws by Mark Barroca, who brought the lead to 85-77.

Pingris, who finished with 19 points, 17 rebounds and 5 blocks, iced the win with two more free-throws to peg the final count at 87-77.

“Our guys worked so hard for it,” said Tim Cone. “I think we are the underdogs coming in. But this guy (Pingris) just showed so much heart.”

The title allowed Cone to tie legendary coach Baby Dalupan with 15 PBA championships.

“I am so humbled,” the American mentor added. “Growing up, it was Baby Dalupan whom we all watched. I watched him all my life. It’s humbling to tie him.” –

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