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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The San Miguel Beermen got out to an enormous early lead as they take a commanding 3-1 lead against Barangay Ginebra, 94-85, in Game 4 of the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup on Friday, March 3 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Gin Kings, who trailed by as many as 26 points, sparked a rally in the second half following a flagrant foul one called on Gabby Espinas as they cut the deficit to 7 with a minute remaining in the final quarter.
The defending champs held off the impending comeback as they forced a Ginebra turnover with 39 seconds left on the clock.
“Buti nalang we’re leading by 26,” (Good thing we were leading by 26) said San Miguel head coach Leo Austria about the Gin Kings’ late rally. “It’s a team effort both in offense and defense.”
“3-1, it’s a commanding lead, but we’re not sure yet. Hindi pa tapos ito.” (This is not yet over.)
Marcio Lassiter posted 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting, while June Mar Fajardo, who earlier received his award as Best Player of the Conference, listed a double-double with 20 points and 13 boards.
Chris Ross contributed 17 points to go with 9 assists, while Alex Cabagnot added 13 for the Beermen, who went 15-of-35 from beyond the arc.
Joe Devance put up a game-high 22 markers along with 6 rebounds for Ginebra, while Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio had 12 apiece.
Scottie Thompson had 7 points coupled with 10 boards and 7 assists for the Gin Kings, who will now face a do-or-die Game 5 on Sunday, March 5 at the Big Dome.
San Miguel (94) – Fajardo 20, Lassiter 20, Ross 17, Cabagnot 13, Santos 8, Tubid 8, De Ocampo 5, Espinas 3, Heruela 0.
Ginebra (85) – Devance 22, Aguilar 12, Tenorio 12, Ellis 10, Thompson 7, Ferrer 6, Mercado 6, Marcelo 4, Caguioa 3, Mariano 2, Cruz 1, Taha 0.
Quarter scores: 30-18, 55-34, 76-63, 94-85. – Rappler.com