PBA Commissioner’s Cup

Bay Area escapes San Miguel, sets up finals clash with Ginebra

Delfin Dioquino
Bay Area escapes San Miguel, sets up finals clash with Ginebra

DETHRONED. Andrew Nicholson posts a monster double-double as Bay Area eliminates San Miguel.

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Bay Area dumps San Miguel in four games of their best-of-five semifinals to become the third guest team in PBA history to reach the finals

MANILA, Philippines – Bay Area dethroned San Miguel and arranged a finals date with Barangay Ginebra in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup after eking out a thrilling 94-92 win at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, December 21.

Andrew Nicholson delivered a monster double-double of 42 points and 21 rebounds as the Dragons dumped the Beermen in four games of their best-of-five series to become the third guest team in PBA history to reach the finals.

Emtex Brazil first achieved the feat in the 1977 Invitational Conference, while American team Nicholas Stoodley holds the distinction as the only foreign squad to win a PBA championship, ruling the 1980 Invitational Conference.

Game 1 of the best-of-seven finals will played on Christmas Day at the same venue.

Nicholson rose to the occasion late, draining a clutch triple that gave his side a 94-90 lead with under two minutes left before the Beermen shot themselves in the foot down the stretch with missed free throws and bungled shots.

San Miguel made just 13 of its 22 foul shots and missed four – two each from import Devon Scott and CJ Perez – in the final 3:15 minutes.

Although Scott pulled the defending champions within a single possession by draining a pair of free throws, 92-94, and the Beermen completed a defensive stop to get a crack at either a tie or the win, Bay Area held on to advance.

Perez failed to find the mark on his game-winning three-pointer before June Mar Fajardo missed the game-tying bank shot as time expired.

“San Miguel is a good team. They’re a really good team. We had to come with our A game,” said Nicholson. “Credit to my teammates. We made the right decisions. We played through the adversity.”

Kobey Lam backstopped Nicholson with 26 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, while Hayden Blankley added 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

Perez finished with 28 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals as he carried the scoring load for the Beermen locals following a rough shooting performance from star big man Fajardo.

Fresh from a PBA Press Corps Player of the Week citation, Fajardo struggled in Game 4, chalking up just 9 points on a poor 4-of-15 clip. He, though, hauled down 16 rebounds.

Scott saw his near-triple-double of 25 points, 19 rebounds, 8 assists, and 2 steals go down the drain in the losing effort, while Marcio Lassiter chimed in 14 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals.

The Scores

Bay Area 94 – Nicholson 42, Lam 26, Blankley 12, Zhu 7, Yang 3, Ju 2, Song 2, Liu 0, Reid 0.

San Miguel 92 – Perez 28, Scott 25, Lassiter 14, Fajardo 9, Enciso 5, Cruz 4, Brondial 4, Romeo 3, Ross 0, Manuel 0.

Quarters: 17-16, 46-38, 69-72, 94-92.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.