|Alex Cabagnot showed up when he is needed the most as they defeat the Hotshots in Game 4. Dennis Jerome Acosta/ Dugout Philippines|
By Angelo Acosta
MANILA--The San Miguel Beermen cruised into a well-earned 109-102 win against the Star Hotshots this Friday evening at the MOA Arena in Pasay to advance to the Finals for the second time this season and for the first time in the Commissioner's Cup since 2012, aiming a first title in the tourney since 2000.
Led by Alex Cabagnot, the Beermen led the first two halves of the game but still had to repulse a fourth quarter blast by the Hotshots to take the close victory.
The Hotshots actually had a short run after the opening tip of the second half but the Beermen regained their control of the game by the locals' contribution as they grabbed the lead again.
They even extended the lead to 17 before the third period ended with a 14-point lead by the Beermen.
SMB import Charles Rhodes went on a foul trouble entering the fourth forcing him to miss most of the quarter.
Still, the Beermen played well as Fajardo, Ross and Cabagnot stepped up extending it up to 17 again.
The Star Hotshots refused to surrender their white flags as they cut the lead to up to eight in the 2:42 mark of the fourth before Paul Lee, Mark Barroca and Allein Maliksi hit important shots to put the Beermen's lead to just a possession with less than two minutes to play and a three-point lead. Rhodes and Ross sealed the game with crucial defensive stops and freethrows.
Cabagnot poured 26 points, six rebounds and five assists. Ross came up with 24 and Fajardo also added 22.
Meanwhile, the Hotshots ended their campaign with Ratliffe leading them with 36 points, followed by Maliksi's 16 markers.
The Beermen have to wait for the winner of the TNT-Ginebra series to know who are they going to face off in the Finals next week.
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