ELIJAH Millsap drew the needed support from the locals in the endgame as Petron Blaze notched a fourth straight win by turning back San Mig Coffee, 89-83, to seize the solo lead in the PBA Governors Cup Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Millsap terrorized the Mixers with his all-around performance of 31 points, 16 rebounds, six assists and six steals in 43 minutes of play.
But Chris Lutz and Ronald Tubid also stepped up big for the league leader during a key 14-5 breakaway late in the game that allowed Petron to seize control and improve its record to 4-1 overall.
Tubid accounted for five of the team’s output during that run, including a wide-open three-pointer with 48.8 seconds to play that sealed the outcome of the match.
“I think coming to this game, our mindset was to just protect our spot in the top bracket of the standings. It’s very important for us to preserve the top four for us to realize our dream of making it to the semis at the least,” said Petron rookie coach Gee Abanilla.
The youthful Petron mentor also credited Tubid for his clutch shots and Lutz for the two crucial offensive rebounds in the final two minutes of play that preserved the win for the Boosters.
“In this game, it was a real struggle for us. San Mig Coffee is a very tough team. It was really close all the way but I give it to Ronald Tubid and Chris Lutz for getting the offensive rebounds,” added Abanilla.
Marqus Blakely again led the Mixers with 25 points and 14 rebounds, but missed seven straight free throws in the second half which proved fatal for a team that is fighting for a spot in the top four of
James Yap delivered 14 markers, but had to bleed for every point behind the defense of Tubid and Lutz, who alternately hounded him during his 31-minute stint on the floor.
The 6-foot-2 shooting guard finished the game shooting just 5-of-15, and had four turnovers.
Petron (89) -- Millsap 31, Lutz 10, Tubid 10, Fajardo 8, Cabagnot 8, Santos 7, Lassiter 6, Lanete 5, Kramer 4.
San Mig (83) -- Blakely 25, Yap 14, Maliksi 11, Simon 10, Mallari 7, Devance 5, Pingris 5, Reavis 4, De Ocampo 2, Barroca 0.
Quarterscores: 23-27; 46-47; 66-65; 89-83.