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PBA: Pivotal Game 3 today

Game Today
(Smart Araneta)
7 p.m. – San Miguel vs Ginebra

The way the first two games ended, San Miguel Beer head coach Leo Austria is certain that the pivotal Game 3 will much be the same: a down-the-wire finish as the Beermen face the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series tonight at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“We saw what happened in the first two games, talagang dikitan ang labanan,” said Austria after conducting team practice yesterday at the Green Meadows in Quezon City.

“Ito namang Game 3, malamang na ganun din kasi parehas ang team na hindi agad bibitaw. I just hope that we can take advantage of the momentum after we won the last game,” added Austria.

The best-of-five series is now tied at 1-1, with Ginebra winning in Game 1, 115-108, last Monday before SMB bounced back with a 95-92 escape in Game 2 Wednesday.

SMB import Elijah Millsap scored 23 points, including the team’s last two points by converting a two-handed slam dunk that gave them a 95-92 advantage with 12.9 seconds left in the game.

June Mar Fajardo, the reigning back-to-back MVP who sustained a cut in his right eyebrow, finished with 18 points and 23 rebounds. Alex Cabagnot had 13 points and Ronald Tubid came off the bench to add 10 points.

Like in Game 1 where SMB blew a 17-point lead, the Beermen squandered a 16-point advantage (47-31) late in the second period when ace guard LA Tenorio and Best Import contender Justin Brownlee led Ginebra’s fightback in the third quarter.

The 5-foot-8 Tenorio, who exploded for 32 points in a quarterfinal win against Alaska but went scoreless in Game 1, rediscovered his shooting touch as he scored 12 of his 22 points in the third.

A three-point play by Millsap, however, capped a 12-2 run by SMB that gave them an 11-point lead, 91-80, with 6:50 to play. But Tenorio’s third triple in the game with 20.9 seconds to play cut SMB’s lead to 93-92.

After that dunk my Millsap, Brownlee had an opportunity to send the game into extra period. But his three-point attempt in the final moments of the game hit the front rim as time expired.

“The most important thing is we know how to beat this team,” said Tenorio. “May confidence kami to beat this team.

Unlike in the first half na tingin namin, hindi namin kaya talunin yung team na ‘to.”

“Pero now, I think the whole team has the confidence kung paano namin tatalunin ang San Miguel. Hopefully, magawa lang namin yung mga adjustments na kailangan and hindi automatic na kumpiyansa lang ang kailangan at matatalo na namin sila.”