Cabagnot proves clutch as San Miguel punches finals ticket vs Alaska
MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel proved steadier in the endgame to fend off Alaska, 104-99, in Game 4 and punch its finals ticket in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, July 22.
June Mar Fajardo finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks and Renaldo Balkman chalked up 23 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists and two blocks as the Beermen advanced to the championship round for the 40th time in franchise history.
While the two big men carried the scoring load, it was Alex Cabagnot who towed San Miguel down the stretch, and eventually, into the triumph that sealed the best-of-5 semis series at 3-1.
Cabagnot, who wound up with an all-around effort of 18 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals, scored 7 of his output in the final 3 minutes – highlighted with a cold-blooded triple that gave the Beermen a 100-92 lead with 34 seconds left.
The Aces tried to stage a last-ditch comeback after a Simon Enciso triple trimmed their deficit to 3 points, 99-102, with 9 ticks remaining but Cabagnot coolly sank his freebies to secure the win for San Miguel.
San Miguel awaits the winner between Barangay Ginebra and Rain or Shine. The Gin Kings hold a 2-1 series lead and will go for the kill on Monday, July 23, at the same venue.
Chris Ross chipped in 17 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists while Marcio Lassiter and Kelly Nabong teamed up for 14 points in the win.
Diamon Simpson paced the Aces, who played in the semifinals for the first time in two years, with a monster output of 24 points, 21 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks while Vic Manuel added 20 points and 4 steals.
Enciso had 19 points and 7 assists and JVee Casio churned out 15 points in the losing effort.
San Miguel (104): Fajardo 26, Balkman 23, Cabagnot 18, Ross 17, Lassiter 8, Nabong 6, Santos 4, Standhardinger 2, Heruela 0
Alaska (99): Simpson 24, Manuel 20, Enciso 19, Casio 15, Teng 6, Racal 4, Exciminiano 4, Magat 3, Thoss 2, Baclao 2, Galliguez 0
Quarter scores: 20-23, 43-44, 76-69, 104-99