Reduce semis series deficit to 2-3By Calvin D. Cordova
Cebu Daily News
Mall of Asia Arena
5 p.m.- Alaska vs. Talk N Text
It doesn’t bode well for a team when its superstar ends up with more fouls than points. But for the San Mig Coffee Mixers, there are many ways to skin a cat.
The Coffee Mixers bucked the limited minutes of star guard James Yap, outworking the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the endgame to pull off a, 79-67 victory to stay alive in their best-of-seven semifinal series of the 38th PBA Philippine Cup last night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
San Mig cut its series deficit to 2-3 and will have a chance to force a do-or-die Game 7 when the two squads meet anew on Jan. 3.
Yap, one of the league’s certified scorers, was held down to just two points as he rode the bench for most part of the game due to foul trouble.
The former-Most Valuable Player awardee picked up his fourth foul right in the very first possession of the second half. And with still 10:13 left in the third, Yap was slapped with his fifth foul that forced him to sit.
Rain or Shine was quick to capitalize on Yap’s exit, rattling off six straight points to turn a 33-35 deficit into a 39-35 lead.
With their superstar teammate out, Marc Pingris, Rafi Reavis and PJ Simon rallied the Coffee Mixers in a crucial run that tied the count at 43-all.
A 7-4 run gave Rain or Shine the lead back, 50-47, but San Mig Coffee closed the third with a 5-0 rally to go up, 52-50 and did not relinquish the lead with several players contributing in the fourth.
Heavy damage was already done by the other Coffee Mixers when Yap checked back into the game in the final 5:32 with San Mig up, 71-63.
A basket by Joe De Vance gave San Mig Coffee a double-digit spread, 73-63, with 4:59 remaining.
De Vance finished with 20 points, Pingris added 18 markers and 10 rebounds, while Simon and Mark Barroka added 16 and 11, respectively.
Larry Rodriguez was the lone Painter to scored in double figures with 14 markers.
Meanwhile, the Alaska Aces and the defending champions Talk N Text Tropang Texters seek a crucial 3-2 lead when they face off in Game 5 of their own race-to-four series at the same venue.
The Aces tied the series at two games apiece after winning Game 4 Friday night, 104-99.
SAN MIG (79)- Devance 20, Pingris 18, Simon 16, Barroca 11, Reavis 6, Villanueva 3, Gonzales 3, Yap 2, Intal 0.
RAIN OR SHINE (67)- Rodriguez 14, Cruz 9, Lee 8, Ibanes 8, Matias 7, Norwood 5, Belga 4, Quinahan 4, Tang 3, Chan 3, Tiu 2, Arana 0. QUARTERSCORES: 17-15, 31-29, 52-50, 79-67.