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PBA: Game 5: SMB vs Ginebra

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

Best-of-5 series tied 2-2

FOUR Ginebra San Miguel players, from left, Aljon Mariano, Jervy Cruz, Joe Devance and Jayjay Helterbrand gang up on San Miguel Beer center June Mar Fajardo in battling for the loose ball in  Sunday’s Game 4 in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. San Miguel easily won, 101-72, to tie the series and set up a do-or-die Game 5 for a finals berth. (Rio Deluvio)

FOUR Ginebra San Miguel players, from left, Aljon Mariano, Jervy Cruz, Joe Devance and Jayjay
Helterbrand gang up on San Miguel Beer center June Mar Fajardo in battling for the loose ball in
Sunday’s Game 4 in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. San Miguel easily won, 101-72, to tie the series and set up a do-or-die Game 5 for a finals berth. (Rio Deluvio)

It’s going to be war.

With a ticket to the finals at stake, San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel slug it out in an explosive finale to what has been a thrilling semifinal showdown, clashing in Game 5 of the PBA Governor’s Cup playoffs tonight at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The defending champion Beermen forced the do-or-die following a 101-72 rout of the Kings in front of more than 22,000 fans last Sunday.

The game was the only blowout victory by any team as the first three matches had been decided by an average margin of 3.6 points – Ginebra won Games 1 (115-108) and 3 (97-96), while SMB triumphed in Game 2 (95-92).

That makes this sudden death a ‘must see’ as SMB and Ginebra collide at 7 p.m. in another highly-anticipated match that is expected to draw an even bigger sellout crowd.

The experience of playing in three of the last five finals – winning all three – helped SMB avoid elimination as Marcio Lassiter fired 23 points, 14 in the pivotal second quarter, in Game 4, while reigning two-time MVP June Mar Fajardo contributed 17 points and 16 rebounds.

SMB import Elijah Millsap added 13 points and 17 rebounds, while Alex Cabagnot had 13 points and former MVP Arwind Santos 13 as well with nine boards in a balanced attack by the Beermen.

That type of effort and energy is what San Miguel coach Leo Austria wants to see from his players in today’s Game 5, confident they will survive this one after they came out on top in the Philippine Cup after falling behind 0-3 in the series against Alaska.

“It’s going to be an exciting game, a treat to the fans,” said Austria.

“We know it’s going to be totally different from this last game… much like the first three matches that went down the wire. Both teams will go out there fighting, so it’s going to be a no-tomorrow game.”

Millsap, who lost in a deciding Game 7 to San Mig Super Coffee (now Star) during the Governors’ Cup finals in 2014, said that they worked feverishly to be in this situation.

“We did what we were supposed to do,” said Millsap. “We came out with high energy and focus and be the best team that we can be. My guys came out and played like defending champions. Hopefully we’ll come out with the same intensity and same communication (in Game 5).” (Waylon Galvez)

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