Game Tomorrow (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
8 p.m. – San Mig Super Coffee vs Rain or Shine
Manila, Philippines – San Mig Super Coffee moved one win away from completing a Grand Slam by beating Rain or Shine, 78-69, in Game 3 of their PLDT Home Telpad Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup finals last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Ian Sangalang, who lost to Barangay Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter in the Rookie of the Year derby, scored six points in a decisive 12-2 run as the Mixers turned a 59-58 deficit into a commanding 70-61 lead with 7:10 left in the contest.
Elasto Painters import Arizona Reid kept the game close at 70-64 after completing a three-point play, but Sangalang scored a jumper and import Marqus Blakely hit two free throws to make it 74-64 in the Mixers’ favor.
Blakely, who finished with 17 points and 17 rebounds, later completed his monster game with a key tip-in for a 76-67 lead with 3:42 to go, ending any hopes of a late Rain or Shine rally.
With a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five series, San Mig can become the fourth team in PBA history after Crispa (1976 and 1983), San Miguel Beer (1989) and Alaska (1996) to win the Grand Slam if it prevails in Game 4 tomorrow.
But Mixers Coach Tim Cone warned that it’s easier said than done.
“You can’t talk about it ‘till it’s done,” said Cone, who won a Grand Slam with Alaska back in 1996. “We can’t afford to do that, we have too much respect for this team. This is mentally the strongest team, they don’t break easily.”
“We just have to compete with them every possession, earn everything. And that’s what we did today. It wasn’t really a game with big shots. It’s more of big stops. This is a battle all the way,” added Cone.
Reid led all scorers with 31 points, but he got little support from the Rain or Shine locals as Beau Belga had eight points, while Jervy Cruz and Ryan Arana made six apiece.
“We just got outworked today, we lost by 13 rebounds (52-39), and we relied too much on AZ. If we’re not gonna get (scoring) from the locals, we’re not gonna beat San Mig,” said Rain or Shine Coach Yeng Guiao. “AZs trying hard to carry us on his shoulders but that’s not just gonna happen. We have to find ways to get the others involved.”
Meantime, the PBA Board of Governors, in an emergency meeting yesterday, exonerated Commissioner Chito Salud by accepting his apology and agreed with the commissioner that improvements will be made in future draft lotteries.
Salud came under severe criticism from Guiao and from social media for the lack of transparency in the conduct of the lottery draft last Tuesday. Guiao also questioned the commissioner’s integrity and honesty.
Salud did not remove his hand from the lottery box when he dropped the ball bearing Globalport’s name and then raised his hand to announce that Globalport had won the No. 1 pick in the coming draft.
Rain or Shine had a chance to get the No. 1 pick because it owns the Meralco pick which was also placed in the lottery box. Meralco got the No. 2 pick and that went to Rain or Shine.
“We have decided to do the following. The PBA board and PBA (management committee) will immediately review the procedure of the lottery draw and the (rookie) draft in August so we can avoid this issue,” said PBA Vice Chairman Patrick Gregorio of Talk ‘N Text. (Waylon Galvez)