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PBA: Mixers take 3-2 lead

Game Wednesday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
8 p.m. – San Mig vs Petron

PETRON’S Ronald Tubid takes a tumble after getting fouled by San Mig Coffee’s James Yap, left, in the first half of Game 5 last night in the PBA Governors’ Cup PLDT-Telpad Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. (Photo by Tony Pionilla)Manila, Philippines – San Mig Coffee’s lights-out shooters took some time to get ignited in Game 5, but did so in their darkest hour.

With the fumes from a Petron Blaze comeback heavy in the air, the Mixers struck behind consecutive three-pointers by Alex Mallari, PJ Simon and James Yap in the last five minutes to defuse the threat and take a 3-2 lead in the PBA Governors’ Cup PLDT-Telpad Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Their 114-103 victory smashed an alternating trend in the best-of-7 series and put San Mig Coffee, which lost Games 1 and 3, on the brink of a franchise’s 10th championship.

The Mixers can wrap it up with a title-clinching win in Game 6 on Wednesday. If the Boosters have enough gas left in the tank, Game 7 will be on Friday, both at the Big Dome.

Marqus Blakely had 30 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and a block in 48 full minutes, hitting 9 of 17 free throws. Playmaker Mark Barroca added a career-tying 22 points with a first-ever 10 assists, while San Mig’s top guns delivered the coup de grace in decisive fashion.

Mallari beat the shot clock with trey to make it 103-94, Simon, who had 17 points, hiked the advantage to 108-94 with a triple of his own, and Yap buried San Mig’s third 3-pointer in the fourth when Petron got close at 108-102.

“The key was we hit our shots,” said San Mig coach Tim Cone. “We’re really not that type of team, but tonight we were.”

The Mixers hit 41 of 74 (55 percent), including 8 of 15 from beyond the arc. In contrast, the Boosters shot themselves out of the pivotal game by going 15 of 37 from beyond the arc, their total 3s just four short of their 2-point field goal attempts.

“We played good defense, they just shot the lights out tonight,” said Petron coach Gee Abanilla. “Right now, we’re down, but we’re certainly not out. We’ll try to regroup and come out with a better plan (for Game 6).

“We tried to keep them uncomfortable and guessing,” said Cone.

The Boosters could start by reviving MVP winner Arwind Santos, whose game has plummeted considerably in the finals.

After committing that grievous inbounds pass that cost Petron Game 4 last Friday, Santos was held down to two free throws in Game 5, starting at forward but getting just 18 minutes on 0-of-5 shooting from the floor.

Team insiders said Santos had wept inside the locker room after the game.