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Beermen move to within a win from 20th title after taking Game 5 versus Aces

By Ivan Saldajeno

San Miguel held on to a 93-88 win against Alaska in Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The close game appeared to be going the Beermen's way with less than two minutes left when they broke out of a 76-all deadlock with a 12-5 run to go up, 89-82.

But Calvin Abueva converted two free throws to cut the lead to five with 56.1 seconds remaining.

Marcio Lassiter then turned the ball over after he stepped out of bounds, leaving 32.4 seconds on the clock.

Abueva scored on a quick lay-in to draw the Aces closer, 86-89, with 25.2 seconds to go.

Arwind Santos made two free throws off a foul to stretch the gap to five, 91-86, with 18.1 seconds left.

Vic Manuel, seeing Dondon Hontiveros being clogged by the San Miguel defense, drove for the layup that he missed. Junemar Fajardo colored the rebound before Abueva fouled him quickly.

The recently-crowned Best Player of the Conference, who made eight of his first ten charities, missed two crucial free throws, giving the Aces another chance with 11.3 seconds left.

But Manuel again muffed a layup on the other end, and Ronald Tubid sealed the win with two free throws with 4.5 seconds left.

Fajardo and Santos each had 19 points for the Beermen, who can clinch their 20th PBA pennant with a Game 6 win on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Abueva, meanwhile, scored a game-high 24 markers for the Aces, who are now on a twice-to-beat disadvantage entering Game 6.

Box Scores:

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

Quarterscores: 21-23, 41-41, 71-71, 93-88