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SMB takes first finals seat after ousting Alaska

Junemar Fajardo led the Beermen back to the PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--San Miguel nailed the first seat in the PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals after eliminating Alaska, 104-99, in Game 4 of their best-of-five semifinal series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night.

The Beermen went ablaze in the third quarter and held off the Aces down the stretch to enter the championship round in the mid-season conference for the second straight year.

Alaska took control for most of the first half, although SMB stayed close and was within one, 43-44, at halftime.

The Beermen then dropped 33 points in the third quarter to go up, 76-69, entering the fourth.

They, however, still had to overcome a late push by the Aces led by Simon Enciso and Vic Manuel as they helped cut the lead down to three, 102-99, with 6.1 seconds to go.

Alex Cabagnot iced the game for SMB with two free throws with 3.4 seconds remaining.

Junemar Fajardo led the Beermen, who will face the winner of the other semifinal pairing between Barangay Ginebra and the Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters in the best-of-seven finals, with 26 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, and two blocks.

Renaldo Balkman added 23 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks, while Cabagnot chipped in 18 points, five rebounds, nine assists, and three steals.

Diamon Simpson made 24 markers, 21 boards, four dimes, three blocks, and one steal for the Aces, who missed out on the finals despite being the second seeds after the eliminations.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno