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PBA: Mixers survive

Jason Castro drives against Marqus Blakely.   photo by Tony Pionilla

by Waylon Galvez

Game Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
5 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Alaska

Manila, Philippines – San Mig Super Coffee took a step closer towards a rare Grand Slam after the Mixers posted a nail-biting 93-87 win over the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters to clinch the first finals berth in the deciding fifth game of their PLDT Home Telpad Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup semifinal series last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

After squandering a commanding 2-0 series lead that forced a sudden death showdown, San Mig showed too much poise particularly in the second half to advance to the finals for the fourth straight time and 27th overall.

James Yap topscored with 25 points, import Marqus Blakely added 21 points and 16 rebounds, while Mark Barroca hit 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter as the Mixers will face either Rain or Shine or Alaska in a best-of-five title series.

Rain or Shine and Alaska will dispute the last finals berth in Game 5 of their own semis series today at the Big Dome.

The finals will be the last obstacle in San Mig’s bid to become just the fourth team in league’s 39-year history to win a Grand Slam.

“Our dream is still alive, remarkably,” said Mixers Coach Tim Cone, who will be playing in the finals for the 29th time with a chance to win his 18th title and a second Grand Slam after achieving the feat with Alaska back in 1996.

“It wasn’t the best play down the stretch game for us protecting the lead. I was a little disappointed. But you can’t argue the result. They are (Texters) an incredible team, they really handled us for two game. It came to this one. Frankly I don’t know how we done it,” added Cone.

A three-pointer by Yap, his fifth for the game, gave the Mixers an 81-66 lead with 3:24 left to play, but TNT import Paul Harris led a rally as his three-point play cut the deficit to 87-91 with 14.9 seconds to go.

It proved to be TNT’s last stand.

The scores:
San Mig Coffee 93 — Yap 25, Blakely 21, Barroca 17, Devance 11, Pingris 10, Simon 7, Sanggalang 2, Taha 0, Melton 0, Reavis 0, Hoilstein 0, Mallari 0, Gaco 0, Maliksi 0, Matias 0.

Talk N Text 87 — Harris 40, De Ocampo 13, Castro 11, Seigle 8, Espiritu 7, Fonacier 4, Williams 2, Rob Reyes 2, Alapag 0, Carey 0, Baclao 0, Canaleta 0, Ryan Reyes 0, Aban 0.

Quarters” 21-20; 37-38; 62-55; 93-87.