(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Meralco vs. Talk N Text
SAN Miguel unleashed its full offensive against Barangay Ginebra last night to force a do-or-die game via a masterful 101-72 Game 4 victory in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen held the Gin Kings to only seven points in the second period and erected a 55-29 lead at the break that paved the way for San Miguel to tie the best-of-five affair to 2-2.
The win was also the second straight for the defending champions in the series as they force the decider.
Marcio Lassiter was the man of the hour for San Miguel, unleashing a barrage of three-pointers in the first half that left Ginebra’s defense in disarray.
Lassiter capped the night with an incredible 7-of-9 shooting from the three-point area for 25 points and grabbed five rebounds to earn the best player of the game.
June Mar Fajardo also finished with 17 points and 16 boards for San Miguel.
Import Elijah Millsap, Arwind Santos and Alex Cabagnot also sizzled on offense, finishing with 13 points apiece.
Of course, nobody is happier than coach Leo Austria, who sees the win as a big morale-boost for his wards.
“I am so thankful we evened the series,” said Austria after the game. “Basta Ginebra, you’re not sure what will happen.”
He also had praises for his wards.
“They know the situation, we’ve been in this situation in the past,” said Austria, who was referring to the 0-3 deficit they had against Alaska in this season’s Philippine Cup, where they won four straight games and eventually clinched the All-Filipino crown.
“We just evened the series,” he added.
Austria also lauded Lassiter’s performance.
“Yung sense of urgency ni Marcio (Lassiter), yun ang nanaig sa kanya. It was so quiet in the dugout before the game, kung natalo kami, there’s no tomorrow,” Austria said.
Asked about their chances in Game 5 on Tuesday, Austria believes that it’s still anybody’s ballgame.
“I’m sure it’s a different ballgame against Ginebra,” said Austria. “Noong medyo alanganin na sila, he (Tim Cone) did not play LA (Tenorio), Japeth (Aguilar) and si (Justin) Brownlee.”
Ginebra coach Tim Cone, on the other hand, admitted that they were not able to keep up on San Miguel’s explosive offense.
“Game 3 was a lot of fun, but today was not fun,” said Cone. “They brought their A-game tonight and we can’t keep up.”
“Our guys, they’re learning how to play these things,” he added.
And what a night for Cone it was, as he saw the Gin Kings scoring only seven points in the whole second quarter and was not able to get the usual output from his trusted wards.
Japeth Aguilar only scored a point, while Sol Mercado and Scottie Thompson failed to deliver the goods.
San Miguel (101) -- Lassiter 25, Fajardo 17, Millsap 13, Santos 13, Cabagnot 13, Ross 9, Arana 3, Espinas 2, Mabulac 2, De Ocampo 2, Heruela 2, David 0, Semerad 0, Tubid 0, Reyes 0.
Ginebra (72) -- Brownlee 28, Tenorio 17, Devance 6, Cruz 5, Caguioa 4, Marcelo 4, Helterbrand 3, Salva 2, Bonifacio 2, Aguilar 1, Thompson 0, Mercado 0, Mariano 0, Villamor 0.
Quartercores: 30-22, 55-29, 82-52, 101-72.