ALEX Cabagnot came through with two big three-pointers as well as a crucial layup in the final minute to carry Petron Blaze to a 107-100 victory and a two-game sweep of Barako Bull in their PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinal playoff at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The win allowed the Boosters to advance to a best-of-seven semifinal series against second seed Rain or Shine, which reached the semis after whipping GlobalPort, 106-96, in their quarterfinal match last Wednesday. The series begins on Monday.
“It was a really tough win for us. Barako Bull pushed us to the limit,” said Petron coach Gee Abanilla after steering the Boosters to their second straight semifinal stint.
Abanilla recognized the tough task ahead of them considering the E-Painters have won their last eight games dating back to the double-round eliminations.
“Now, we’re going up against the hottest team in the league. we got our work cut out for us. We have to do a good job scouting them (E-Painters) and looking for their weaknesses, if they have one,” he added.
Petron, which led by as many as 14 points, struggled to put the game away as Rico Maierhofer carried Barako Bull by playing the game of his life in the second half.
The former Rookie of the Year banged in 17 of his career-high 21 points during that stretch while grabbing 11 rebounds, helping Barako Bull close in at 89-92 going into the final five minutes of the match.
But Cabagnot rose to the occasion, nailing 10 of the team’s last 15 points from there on the way to finishing with a double-double performance of 22 points and 12 assists, while adding three rebounds and a steal for Petron.
Chris Lutz added 18 points, while reigning MVP Arwind Santos registered his seven double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Sophomore slotman June Mar Fajardo chipped in 14 points and 17 rebounds, as well as four blocks in 40 minutes of action.
Petron 107 - Cabagnot 22, Lutz 18, Santos 17, Fajardo 14, Lassiter 11, Tubid 10, Ross 8, Kramer 7, Lanete 0.
Barako Bull 100 - Maierhofer 21, Intal 20, Miranda 15, Miller 11, Pena 11, Pennisi 8, Lastimosa 6, Jensen 4, Wilson 2, Buenafe 2, Isip 0.
Quarters: 25-18, 52-52, 107-100