San Mig Coffee bags third straight championship at expense of Talk 'N Text
Coach Tim Cone and his team are now in prime position to achieve the coveted Grand Slam if they win next conference's championship.
"That's the last thing we're gonna talk about as a team," admitted the now 17-time champion coach. "We're not gonna talk about that because it's so much pressure to win a grand slam."
Cone already has one Grand Slam under his belt with Alaska in 1996.
He said the team will be leaning on the energy of comebacking import Marqus Blakely and Allein Maliksi as they make their run for the Grand Slam in the season-ending Governors' Cup, which starts this Sunday.
"We don't want to make this conference an excuse for next conference," he said. "We're gonna keep pushing and see what we can do."
The winningest coach in the PBA made history as well in his return trip to the Philsports Arena.
According to PBA Head Statistician Fidel Mangonon III, the last time Cone battled for and won a title in the arena was with Alaska in 2003 against Coke.
Dynasty overpowers dominance
After starting off the game cold and allowing the Texters to jump to a 17-1 lead, the Mixers delivered when it mattered most, fielding vital contributions from this conference's Finals MVP Yap and last conference's Finals MVP Mark Barroca.
Yap, who was scoreless for the first 3 quarters, came alive in the payoff period with all of his 10 points.
He sparked his teammates with an off balanced one-hander with 7:37 left in the final canto as the Mixers slowly chipped away at the once double-digit lead, 73-80.
He later nailed a triple to make it a one-possession game, 82-85, with under 6 minutes left.
But Yap wasn't the only savior for the Mixers.
Yap and shifty guard Barroca combined for 15 of San Mig's final 16-4 blast to end the game and overturn the Texters, who caved under the pressure and committed turnovers as well as failed to convert on baskets in the clutch.
Barroca had a game-high 22 points as import James Mays added 18 points and 15 rebounds. Devance added 12 as rookies Justin Melton and Ian Sangalang held their own with 12 and 11 markers, respectively.
Defense holds up
Unlike Game 3, when San Mig's defense was toughest, Talk 'N Text was able to get craftier in finding ways to zigzag through the lane and crack the San Mig Coffee interior defense in Game 4.
Kelly Williams, for one, was all over the place, going 4-of-4 from the field in the first half for 8 of his 12 markers.
Talk 'N Text was able to dictate the pace of the game at the onset, rattling the cold-shooting Mixers.
It was evident with the 8 fastbreak attempts of the Texters - and their 8 points off of that - in the first half that Coach Norman Black's wards were having their way to start Game 4.
Even as Larry Fonacier continued to fire blanks (he had no points in this game) veteran guard Jimmy Alapag snapped out of his funk and dropped three bombs throughout the game, dousing water on San Mig's every rally. He led the Texters with 17 points on 4 treys.
However, it wasn't enough to extend the series to a rubber match.
The Mixers' defense held up in the end despite the Texters' first half 52.3% field goal shooting clip. San Mig was able to limit their opponents eventually to just 48.5% by game's end and upped their own 36.4% first half shooting percentage to 47.6%.
Bobby Parks Best Import Richard Howell scattered 16 points and 12 rebounds. Ranidel de Ocampo and KG Canaleta also added 16 markers apiece.
Noticeably missing in the Texters offense, however, is Best Player of the Conference Jayson Castro. He only mustered 5 points for the entire game.
But the most telling statistic for Game 4 was the free throws.
Talk 'N Text finished the first half going to the line only twice (2-of-2) and they never took another free throw again as they continued trying to cash in on perimeter shots.
In contrast, the Mixers had 41 cracks at the basket and made 30 free throws.
SAN MIG COFFEE 100 - Barroca 22, Mays 18, Devance 12, Sangalang 12, Melton 11, Yap 10, Pingris 6, Simon 6, Reavis 2, Mallari 1, de Ocampo 0, Gaco 0.
TALK 'N TEXT 91 - Alapag 17, Howell 16, de Ocampo 16, Canaleta 16, Williams 12, Castro 5, Reyes 5, Seigle 2, Carey 2, Fonacier 0.
Quarters: 15-25, 38-52, 69-74, 100-91.