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PBA: Mixers square series

by Waylon Galvez

Game Wedneday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
8 p.m. – San Mig vs Petron
(Series tied 1-1)

Manila, Philippines – Marqus Blakely, the cold-blooded San Mig Coffee reinforcement, came out to finish with aplomb what he started in Game 2 of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.

Named Best Import before the opening jump in the second game of the PLDT-Telpad best-of-7 championship series last night, Blakely powered the Mixers to a revenge 100-93 victory over Petron Blaze that swept away all talks of a sweep at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Blakely, who grabbed 16 rebounds and had six assists and four steals, matched his opening output of 23 points, with his 10 third quarter points giving San Mig a bigger advantage (74-62) than the one they lost two days ago in the last 12 minutes.

He would have scored more had he fared better from the line where he went 7-of-21. But he stayed clear off foul trouble and was still around, unlike his counterpart Elijah Millsap, to thwart a last-ditch Petron rally.

Apparently disappointed at getting edged out for the BI award, Millsap, though pouring 31 points, failed to produce the fire that was so evident in Game 1 where 14 of his 35 points came in the fourth quarter.

This time he had 6 as he fouled out with 3:29 remaining before a string of three-pointers brought the Boosters back to within three points as time ran out.

He was followed to the bench, on six fouls, by 6-foot-10 rookie center Junmar Fajardo and Best Player of the Conference Arwind Santos, who was held down to four points (2 of 8), after finishing with 16 in the inaugural.

Chris Lutz also bore the brunt of San Mig’s renewed passion for defense, going scoreless in 20 minutes after his 11 points in Game 1.

Two-time MVP James Yap added 17 points with two triples for San Mig while PJ Simon had 16 and Joe Devance 15 points.

“We needed our behinds to be spanked a little bit after Game One,” said San Mig coach Tim Cone, who is eyeing his 15th title. “Against this team, we realized that we need to be firing on all cylinders to beat them.”

Gee Abanilla, Petron’s rookie coach, rued the disparity in fouls called and free throws awarded.

Petron was whistled for 33 while San Mig got called for 15. The Boosters had 31 free throws compared to the Mixers’ whopping 55.