Beermen complete semis sweep of Tropang Texters
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The San Miguel Beermen are returning to the PBA Finals.
Led by 28 points, 16 rebounds, and 5 assists from reigning league MVP June Mar Fajardo, San Miguel defeated the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters, 100-87, in game four of their best-of-7 2015 PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series on Friday, December 26, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Beermen will now advance to a finals series for the 34th time in franchise history. No other club in PBA history has made the finals more than 27 times.
"I'm so happy with the team, because everybody was doubting us at the start of the season," said SMB head coach Leo Austria, who will coach a PBA Finals series for the first time in his career.
"Yung mga players namin really worked hard… very solid sila, mainly because nakita nila yung opportunity to make it to the finals, na matagal na hinahanap nang team, management, at mga fans."
(Our players worked really hard… they were very solid, mainly because they saw the opportunity to make the finals which has long been coveted by the team, management, and fans.)
Alex Cabagnot came off the bench to provide 16 points and 6 rebounds for the Beermen, who swept a best-of-7 series for the first time in their team's 40-year tenure in the PBA. It was also just the seventh time in PBA history that a team swept a best-of-7 series.
Arwind Santos and Chris Lutz also played well, combining for 28 points and 13 rebounds.
The Beermen took control of the game from the opening tip onward.
On defense, Coach Austria's boys limited the Tropang Texters to just one shot on most possessions, while they relied on fast break opportunities yielded from turnovers to create easy scoring opportunities.
The tide of the game turned in the second period, when Cabagnot and Ronald Tubid came off the bench to combine for 15 points.
The spark they provided helped San Miguel establish an 11-point lead by the end of the second period, and after 12 more minutes of game action, the Beermen managed to increase their advantage to 16, 73-57.
Talk 'N Text went on a last hurrah in the fourth quarter as a basket by Ranidel De Ocampo cut SMB's lead to 10, 78-68. But after a time-out, a couple of baskets by Santos and Fajardo extended their team's edge back to 14.
Moments later, Lutz and Fajardo hit a series of turnaround baskets from the post to increase the Beermen's lead back up to 16, 88-72. TNT was unable to go on another run, leading to the series-clinching win for San Miguel.
SMB now awaits the winner of the semis series between the Alaska Aces and Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, which is currently tied at 2-2.
"These two teams, [they are equally strong]. They have the experience, especially Rain or Shine. Coach Yeng Guiao is a great motivator," Austria said.
"Lahat nang stats, isasangtabi mo na yan eh (throw away all the stats)," he said about what it will take to win the championship. "It's the desire of the players."
Veteran guard Jimmy Alapag started the game and led Talk 'N text with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Larry Fonacier scored 12 points and grabbed 6 rebounds, while Jayson Castro struggled with just 5 points on 3-of-9 shooting.
SMB shot 59% from the field and won the rebounding battle, 52-40. The only blemish from their performance were their 28 turnovers - 9 from Fajardo - leading to 32 TNT points.
The last time the Beermen won an All-Filipino conference was way back in 2001, when Danny Seigle - who finished with 12 points on Friday for TNT - was their leading scorer while current Tropang Texters head coach Jong Uichico was their head coach.
San Miguel (100): Fajardo 28, Cabagnot 16, Lutz 15, Santos 13, Tubid 11, Lassiter 7, Ross 6, Maierhofer 2, Omolon 2, Kramer 0, Pascual 0, Fortuna 0, Semerad 0, Chua 0
Talk 'N Text (87): Alapag 17, Fonacier 12, Seigle 12, Rosser 11, De Ocampo 11, Castro 6, Reyes R. 5, Williams 5, Washington 4, Alas 4, Carey 0, Reyes R. J. 0, Espiritu 0, Aban 0
Quarter Scoring: 24-20, 49-38, 73-57, 100-87
Here are more photos of the game taken by Nuki Sabio/PBA Images
San Miguel Beer vs Talk 'N Text PBA PH Cup semifinals: