MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – “This is going to be a long series.” That was the expectation San Mig Super Coffee Mixers coach Tim Cone brought into the Manila Clasico semifinal series against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
How right he was.
Fortunately for him, the result favored his team as San Mig Coffee disposed of Barangay Ginebra with a lopsided 110-87 victory in Game 7 to earn their ticket to the PLDT Home DSL Philippine Cup finals on Wednesday, February 12 at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
“Too much James and PJ in this game,” Cone said of his veterans James Yap and PJ Simon. “Whatever they ate we’re gonna find out and we’re gonna make sure they keep eating it.”
Yap and Simon could do no wrong all game long as they conspired for 58 points, with Yap getting 30 on 7 triples while Simon went 10-of-14 from the field for 28 markers.
Ginebra stayed with the Mixers up until late in the third when they cut SMC’s 13-point halftime deficit, 57-44, to 9, 76-67, on an LA Tenorio basket. But Alex Mallari put the Mixers back up with a triple to head into the payoff period with a 12-point advantage.
The Mixers never relented from that point, hammering the nail down deeper all throughout the fourth. When Yap was being held down by defense, Simon stepped up and knocked down jumpers from all over the floor.
Yap, who will turn 32 years old on February 15, hit a three-pointer at the 7:01 mark of the fourth to make it a 17-point hole for Ginebra but Tenorio took it right back with a trey of his own. Simon, however, backed Yap up with a basket in the ensuing play to make it a 16-point lead.
After the 33-year-old Simon hit two freebies for an 18-point edge with 2:20 on the clock, Mark Barroca fired from long range for the dagger, 105-84.
Mark Caguioa led Ginebra with 23 points as Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio added 17 and 16, respectively.
The Mixers’ 68.8% shooting from rainbow country and their 57.4% field goal percentage was a result of their 30 assists. Ginebra settled for just 17 assists.
“Shooting like that, no one was going to beat us tonight,” Cone said. “We just never cooled down.”
San Mig Coffee will go on to face the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in a best-of-7 finals affair starting on Friday, February 14 at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
San Mig Super Coffee (110): Yap 30, Simon 28, Sangalang 15, Reavis 15, Pingris 8, Barroca 6, Mallari 6, Devance 2, Melton 0.
Barangay Ginebra (87): Caguioa 23, Aguilar 17, Tenorio 16, Slaughter 12, Mamaril 6, Helterbrand 5, Ellis 4, Baracael 3, Reyes 1, Monfort 0, Urbiztondo 0.
Quarter scores: 28-20, 57-44, 79-67, 110-87