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PBA: Boosters force Game 7

ELIJAH Millsap

by Tito Talao

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

Manila, Philippines – The fuel tank was leaking but Elijah Millsap plugged the hole and saved Petron Blaze’s conference from a Game 6 collapse last night.

Millsap poured 13 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, including nine straight, as the Boosters denied the San Mig Coffee Mixers, 99-88, to force a winner-take-all Game 7 tomorrow in the PLDT-Telpad PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“We didn’t wanna lose this game,” said Millsap when asked what it was that drove him even after he jammed the toe in his left foot and was apparently playing through pain.

Petron coach Gee Abanilla vowed to put everything on the line on Friday.

“That’s Game Seven, a dream for all players and coaches to be in,” Abanilla said. “It’s for all the marbles and we’ll be ready.”

San Mig coach Tim Cone rued the lost opportunity to put the Boosters away on the first of two shots they have at winning their 10th franchise title.

“We certainly had our chances. But beating them three games in a row is a mountain too huge for us to climb,” Cone said. “But we’ll try again.”

Millsap’s fall-away jumper with 4:46 left made it 87-86. And following consecutive turnovers by Marqus Blakely, Millsap scored on a tip-in to give Petron all the cushion it needed.

Junmar Fajardo added 21 points with 14 rebounds before sitting out the last few minutes as Petron went with a small lineup for speed and shooting.

After a disappointing performance in Games 4 and 5, MVP winner Arwind Santos contributed 12 points.

A 13-0 run, fueled by 3-point shots by Alex Cabagnot and Millsap, gave Petron a 28-19 first quarter lead, all the hot start the Boosters needed to take the half, 52-39.

Millsap had 14 and Fajardo 12 with 10 rebounds in the first 24 minutes as Petron used its control of the boards and 16-of-22 free throw shooting to keep the Mixers at bay.

San Mig didn’t help matters by missing 9 of 12 three-pointers, with PJ Simon and Mark Barroca going 0 for 4 combined.

Blakely, who picked up his third foul with 2:30 remaining in the second quarter, and James Yap each had 11 points although Blakely was held down by MVP winner Arwind Santos to two points in the opening period.

Santos broke the ice with a jumper and appeared to be on his way to redemption with six first quarter points after forgettable showings in Games 4 and 5. But guarding Blakely took its toll as he picked up his third and fourth fouls in succession before the intermission.

The scores:
PETRON 99 – Millsap 30, Fajardo 21, Santos 12, Cabagnot 12, Lutz 11, Lassiter 7, Tubid 6, Kramer 0, Hubalde 0, Ildefonso 0.

SAN MIG COFFEE 88 – Blakely 21, Devance 17, Yap 17, Simon 14, Pingris 13, Reavis 4, Mallari 2, Gaco 0, Barroca 0, De Ocampo 0.

Quarters: 28-19, 52-39, 74-63, 99-88