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PBA: Game 3 to Beermen

RAIN or Shine import Wendell McKines is fouled on the drive by San Miguel Beer center Junemar Fajardo, left, in Game 3 of the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. At right is SMB forward Arwind Santos. The Beermen won, 114-108. (Ernie U. Sarmiento)San Miguel one win away from finals

Game Tomorrow (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – San Miguel vs Rain or Shine
(San Miguel leads series 2-1)

San Miguel Beer made sure there was no fourth quarter meltdown this time.

The Beermen once again flaunted their shooting artistry and beat the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 114-108, to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Forty-eight hours removed from a stunning 113-110 loss in Game 2, SMB protected its lead until the final buzzer behind its three-point basket, with import Arizona Reid leading the charge with 37 points.

Reid shot 15-of-26 from the field and made 7-of-10 triples to put San Miguel a win shy of arranging a best-of-seven title showdown with Alaska – the team it beat during in the Philippine Cup last January.

SMB coach Leo Austria lauded his team for avoiding a late-game mishap.

“That was very frustrating. We led by 20 points but lost in a last shot. But that happens in a game. I told them (players) to set that aside, it’s a thing of the past,” said Austria.

Austria and company can finish off the Elasto Painters with a victory tomorrow at the Big Dome.

But if Rain or Shine gets its groove and solve the riddle of SMB’s torrid shooting, a deciding fifth game will be held on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

San Miguel won by making 18-of-27 triples with Reid and Alex Cabagnot, who finished with 26 points, leading the way.

The Beermen led by double digits in the second half but saw the Elasto Painters pull within 100-99 on Gabe Norwood’s triple.

But Reid countered with a three of his own, triggering a 9-2 run that sent SMB back on the driver seat.

Cabagnot had a three following two foul shots by ROS’ Wendell McKines before Reid scored to make it 110-101 with 2:14 to play.

“We were in one direction today. I think the reason why we won was we were able to adjust on what they did to us the last time. Our zone defense worked. This game is very pivotal,” Austria said.

Cabagnot also had nine assists to highlight SMB’s fluid offense even as 6-foot-10 June Mar Fajardo bucked foul trouble to finish with 17 points. Marcio Lassiter, two days removed from his career-high 10-triple performance, also scored 17.

After scoring 53 points in Game 2, McKines was held to 39 points and 12 rebounds. Paul Lee had 22 points while Jeff Chan, who hit the game-winning three the last time, and Norwood added 13 and 12, respectively.

SAN MIGUEL 114 – Reid 37, Cabagnot 26, Lassiter 17, Fajardo 17, Tubid 8, Lutz 7, Santos 2, Ross 0, Omolon 0, Espinas 0.

RAIN OR SHINE 108 – McKines 39, Lee 22, Chan 13, Norwood 12, Tiu 10, Quinahan 5, Ibanes 2, Tang 2, Almazan 2, Cruz Jericho 1, Uyloan 0, Arana 0.

Quarters: 26-27; 56-54; 89-82; 114-108.