by Tito S. Talao
Manila, Philippines – San Mig Coffee survived a nightmarish collapse in Game 4 last night, edging Petron Blaze, 88-86, and leveling at 2-2 the PLDT-Telpad PBA Governors’ Cup Finals at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Mixers blew a 28-point second quarter lead and needed late-game free throws from Mark Barroca, PJ Simon and Alex Mallari to avert a disastrous defeat.
“A one-point win is the same as a 20-point win,” said San Mig coach Tim Cone. “We were just trying very hard in the fourth quarter and saying we can’t regret losing that lead.”
“This is a game we should learn from,” said Petron coach Gee Abanilla. “We just can’t give them a lead like that.”
The nerve-wracking finish was nowhere evident at the start of the game.
As if on revenge mode, the Mixers spilled the Boosters all over the floor right in the first quarter, hitting 73 percent of their shots in opening a 33-13 lead.
San Mig took the half, 52-29, with Blakely scoring 11 of his 13 points in the first quarter and Joe Devance and James Yap sharing 18.
Elijah Millsap, unstoppable with 28 points two nights ago, couldn’t buy a basket this time with his 3-of-9 shooting in the first 24 minutes, underscoring the Boosters’ offensive woes
The Mixers also had 12 turnover points in the first quarter alone compared to the Boosters’ 4.
With Blakely going 4-of-5 with a three-pointer and 2-of-3 from the free throw line, the Mixers went 14-of-19 in their fightback to avert falling into a 3-1 hole.
They controlled the boards, 12-7, and had 10 assists against Petron’s 3, showing off a well-rounded game on both ends.
Petron, in contrast, missed 13 of 19 shots (31 percent) and couldn’t get anything from its usually prolific import.
But the Boosters weren’t the best team in the elimination round for nothing.
Behind Millsap, who outscored the entire San Mig team, 17 to 15 in the third, Petron rallied from a 49-21 deficit in the second period to come within 67-63 going to the final 12 minutes.
The furious third was marred by a bloody mouth suffered by San Mig’s Mark Barroca who took an elbow from Millsap while keeping a tight defensive watch on the Boosters import.
Petron took the third, 34-15, and dominated the boards, 21-9.
San Mig Coffee 88 – Blakely 19, Pingris 15, Yap 14, Barroca 12, Simon 12, Devance 11, Mallari 4, Reavis 1.
Petron 86 – Millsap 33, Fajardo 20, Lassiter 13, Santos 8, Lutz 6, Kramer 2, Miranda 2, Tubid 2, Deutchman 0, Lanete 0, Hubalde 0.
Quarters: 33-13, 52-29, 67-63, 88-86