SAN Mig Coffee relied on the clutch shooting of sophomore guard Mark Barroca to carve out a 114-103 triumph over Petron and move within a win of the PBA Governors Cup title on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Barroca earned Best Player of the Game honors for the second straight game and was labelled San Mig's "Energizer bunny" by an elated coach Tim Cone after a Game Five performance that saw him hit a career high-tying 22 points on 7-of-9 shooting to go with 10 assists.
More importantly, the diminutive starting guard provided the hustle and big baskets in a crucial run that allowed the Mixers to peel off from a 54-all halftime count on the way to a 76-69 lead.
The Mixers held on from there to turn the tables on a favored Petron team, taking a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series and moving on the threshold of regaining a championship they lost to Rain or Shine last season.
San Mig superstar James Yap also stood up offensively by hitting a shot-clock beating three-pointer as well as a 15-footer to ice the game, 113-102, entering the dying minutes.
“I think the key tonight is we hit shots. Mark Barroca hit big shots and James came late to hit some big shots, too. Again, we’re not truly a big shot team but tonight we were. Of course, James is that type of player,” said a beaming Cone after the game.
San Mig can wrap up the championship - and Cone a 15th career title that would tie him with the legendary Baby Dalupan for the league record - when Game Six is played on Wednesday.
But Cone said he expects Game Six to be far more difficult because the Boosters will try to do everything they can to force a sudden death match on Friday.
“Our mindset is come the next game, it will get harder. We just have to find a way to keep them (Boosters) uncomfortable,” said Cone.
Marqus Blakely led the Mixers once more with 30 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists.
Elijah Millsap paced the Boosters with 37 points and 14 boards, while vastly improved rookie slotman June Mar Fajardo finished with another monster game of 23 points and 16 rebounds.
Starting playmaker Alex Cabagnot returned from a two-game absence for Petron and finished with five points, four rebounds and seven assists.