MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The San Miguel Beermen proved to be the better offensive team especially in the fourth quarter as they take Game 5 of the PBA 2015 Philippine Cup Finals with a 93-88 win over the Alaska Aces to take a 3-2 series edge on Friday, January 16 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Reigning MVP and Philippine Cup Finals June Mar Fajardo leads San Miguel with 19 points and 13 rebounds. The Beermen also drew good offensive games from Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter who tallied 19 and 16 points respectively.
The Beermen weathered the Aces' tough pressure defense hitting timely baskets in the fourth period to keep Alex Compton's squad at bay.
San Miguel head coach Leo Austria breathes a sigh of relief as they were able to weather the Aces' tough defense: "Masaya ako dahil naka survive kami sa pressure defense ng Alaska."
(I'm happy we survived Alaska's pressure defense).
Austria likewise praised his team's effort on the defensive end crediting it for the win.
"I think at the start medyo maganda yung outside shooting namin but nawala, pero yung defense namin nag-work sa kanila. Siguro swerte lang kami at malas sila tapos hindi naging effective yung game plan nila. Sa simula it worked but we were able to counter it."
San Miguel limited the Aces to only 3 field goals from the 6:53 mark of the final period, with one of those coming at the dying moments with the outcome of the game already decided.
"Wala kami masyadong ginawang preparasyon except doon sa before the 4th game na continue lang sa kung anong magandang ginagawa namin," said Austria who changed his starting lineup in Game 4 opting to add more firepower with the insertion of Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter in the team's first five.
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It was a close game all through out with the second and third quarters both ending deadlocks.
Scoring picked up in the third quarter when Cyrus Baguio caught fire opening the period with 7-straight points. He finished the game with 19 points and 5 rebounds.
Dondon Hontiveros and Calvin Abueva also had their moments in the third period. Hontiveros hit two triples in the quarter then Abueva capped it off with strong play on both ends of the court.
But rookie David Semerad opened the fourth period with 5-straight points to jump start San Miguel's offense before fouling out early in the period.
San Miguel continued to play off of Fajardo the rest of the way with the big man either finishing quickly off a an entry pass or kicking out to a teammate for a better look at the basket.
Alaska went scoreless for nearly 3 minutes until Baguio buried a triple to cut the deficit to 4, 86-82 with 3:26 remaining. A timeout was called and Lassiter would quickly take back the triple to put the score at 89-82 with 2:57 left in effectively putting the game away for San Miguel.
It was long drawn out game from there as Alaska would foul to stop the clock. San Miguel passed the test from the line making crucial free throw after another.
Abueva, who led Alaska with 24 points and 12 rebounds, made it a 3-point game, 89-86, with 32.6 left remaining but Alaska would fail to execute on offense in the succeeding plays eventually losing the game.
JVee Casio struggled again as he went scoreless for the second game in a row but head coach Compton continues to have confidence in his starting point guard.
. @Alaska_Aces coach Alex Compton on JVee Casio being scoreless in last 2 games #PBAFinals https://t.co/Kxckb9czSs — Jane Bracher (@janebracher) January 16, 2015
Game 6 is set for Sunday, January 17. Rappler will also live blog the match.
San Miguel (93) - Santos 19, Fajardo 19, Lassiter 16, Kramer 9, Semerad 9, Tubid 8, Cabagnot 7, Lutz 4, Ross 2, Omolon 0, Pascual 0, Fortuna 0, Maierhofer 0, Chua 0.
Alaska (88) - Abueva 24, Baguio 19, Manuel 13, Thoss 11, Hontiveros 9, Jazul 9, Menk 2, Eman 1, Banchero 0, Casio 0, Dela Cruz 0, Exciminiano 0, Dela Rosa 0, Espinas 0.
Quarter scores: 21-23, 41-41, 71-71, 93-88