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San Miguel sinks Rain or Shine, takes 3-2 PBA semis lead

MANILA, Philippines – The San Miguel Beermen caught fire in the fourth period, knocking down outside shots to counter rallies from the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and come away with a 103-94 win in Game 5 of the 2016 PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday, January 13 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The defending champions move a win away from back-to-back Philippine Cup Finals appearances with a 3-2 series lead. But that does not mean they are out of the woods just yet.

"With this win I think we achieved nothing yet because this is a series. We need to win another one," remarked head coach Leo Austria. "I think the players are starting to pick up especially my starters, they realized the imporant (thing here) is a mental game."

San Miguel did not rely solely on reigning back-to-back MVP June Mar Fajardo for offense as he registered his lowest output of the series with 27 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists and a block in over 40 minutes on the floor.

Alex Cabagnot contributed 14 points and 6 assists while Marcio Lassiter and Arwind Santos had 12 apiece in back-to-back games where San Miguel's scoring was evenly distributed.

Gabby Espinas, Chris Ross and Ronald Tubid all had 9 points each while Ryan Araña, a former Elasto Painter, had 8 markers.

The Beermen pulled away in the final quarter, building double-digit leads thanks to triples from Santos and Tubid, as well as timely and-one plays from Cabagnot and Araña.

San Miguel, who outscored their foes 31-26 in the final frame, led by 15 points inside the last 3 minutes, and notched its biggest lead at 94-78 on an Araña 3-point play with 6:23 remaining in the game.

Unlike Game 4, the Painters had the upper-hand in rebounding at 42-39, as well as in free throws making 26 of their 32 attempts. The Beermen on the other hand went 14-of-21 from the line.

JR Quiñahan remains consistent this series with 20 points and 6 rebounds. Veteran Jeff Chan finally seemed like he got on track with 15 points on 3 triples, while Jericho Cruz and Jewel Ponferada had 13 markers each.

Guard Cruz saw action after hyperextending his knee in Game 3 and sitting out Game 4.

The winner of this series will faces the Alaska Aces, who finished their series with the Globalport Batang Pier in 5 games.

Game 6 of this series is on Friday, January 15. (SCHEDULE: 2016 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals

#PBA: Coach Leo Austria interview as San Miguel beats Rain or Shine for 3-2 semifinals lead Posted by Jane Yvette Bracher on Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Scores:

San Miguel (103): Fajardo 27, Cabagnot 14, Lassiter 12, Santos 12, Espinas 9, Ross 9, Tubid 9, Arana 8, Lutz 3, Reyes 0.

Rain or Shine (94): Quinahan 20, Chan 15, Cruz 13, Ponferada 13, Belga 9, Norwood 8, Lee 7, Ahanmisi 5, Tiu 4, Teng 0, Trollano 0.

Quarter scores: 17-13, 50-45, 72-68, 103-94.

– Rappler.com