SMB pulls away at the death to 2-1 Finals edge over Ginebra

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--San Miguel blasted off in the dying moments to beat Ginebra, 99-88, for a 2-1 edge in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Wednesday night.

The Beermen scored the game's last 12 points to cap yet another blistering second half and steal the win from the Barangay.

Ginebra made an encore of sorts of its early Game 2 domination, opening a 41-29 lead with around five minutes left in the second quarter.

But a late second quarter outburst drew SMB to within five, 44-49, at halftime.

The team then came to work defensively in the third, limiting Ginebra to only 17 points and eventually taking the lead, 69-66, at the end of the period.

The Barangay fought back in the fourth quarter, scoring 20 within the first seven minutes of the period and regaining the advantage, 86-82.

But a mid-range shot from Junemar Fajardo and a three-pointer from Alex Cabagnot pushed the Beermen back up, 87-86.

Joe Devance gave Ginebra its last taste of the lead at 88-87 with a one-hander, but a three-point play from Fajardo sparked SMB's final strike en route to the win.

However, the game became emotional exactly at the end when Coach Tim Cone went to Chris Ross after the latter drained a late three-pointer when the game was virtually considered called.

Ross would finish with 24 points, four rebounds, eight assists, and one steal, while Cabagnot added 20 points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals for the Beermen.

LA Tenorio led the Barangay with 16 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals.

Game 4 is set on Friday night at the said venue.

Box Scores:

San Miguel 99-Ross 24, Cabagnot 20, Fajardo 17, Lassiter 16, Santos 9, Tubid 6, Reyes 3, Heruela 2, Espinas 2, Garcia 0

Ginebra 88-Tenorio 16, Ferrer 15, Aguilar 12, Ellis 12, Caguioa 11, Thompson 8, Devance 6, Mercado 5, Marcelo 3, Helterbrand 0, Taha 0

Quarterscores: 19-24, 44-49, 69-66, 99-88

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