by Jonas Terrado
Game Today (Ynares Center, Antipolo City)
7 p.m. – Magnolia vs Rain or Shine
(Magnolia leads series 3-2)
Defending champion San Miguel Beer survived Phoenix Pulse’s last-ditch comeback to pull out a 105-94 victory and secure a place in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals for a fifth straight time at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The Beermen were given a scare when the Fuel Masters got to within four points twice after trailing by a high of 25 in the third before Terrence Romeo hit a crucial jumper with 1:08 left for a 100-94 lead.
Phoenix never scored from there and San Miguel secured a 4-1 series win to return to a familiar territory of playing in the PBA’s grandest stage.
San Miguel, which secured its ninth finals appearance under coach Leo Austria, will face either Magnolia or Rain or Shine in a best-of-seven title affair which starts on May 1.
Magnolia, up 3-2 in the other best-of-seven semis, looks to finish off Rain or Shine in Game 6 set 7 p.m. at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City and set up a Philippine Cup Finals rematch with San Miguel.
Chris Ross and Alex Cabagnot accounted for 10 of the Beermen’s 14 three-pointers to set the tone for the Beermen’s series-clinching triumph.
Ross scored 24 points for his best offensive outing of the series while Cabagnot added 22 points.
San Miguel won a series marred by physicality and verbal exchanges that resulted in total fines of at least P111,000.
The final game of the series saw little of the extra-curricular activities as both teams focused on playing basketball.
SAN MIGUEL 105 – Ross 24, Cabagnot 22, Fajardo 17, Santos 12, Romeo 10, Pessumal 8, Standhardinger 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, Lassiter 3, Tubid 0, Nabong 0.
PHOENIX 94 – Wright 20, Chua 18, Revilla 15, Jazul 9, Perkins 8, Intal 8, Kramer 6, Mallari 4, Marcelo 3, Mendoza 2, Abueva 1, Dennison 0.
Quarters: 22-15, 51-39, 85-70, 105-94.