SAN Mig Coffee overcame a poor second half, turning to its defense down the stretch to pull off a close 90-84 win over a fighting Petron Blaze side on Sunday night in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With San Mig hanging on to a 88-84 lead following forward Rafi Reavis’ split charities with 21.7 seconds remaining, Petron guard Joseph Yeo missed a contested three-point attempt but Jay Washington managed to grab the rebound.
Washington then launched a three-point attempt from the right flank, but San Mig Coffee center Yancy de Ocampo swatted the ball away, recovered possession then made a perfect pitch to a waiting James Yap, who scored an unmolested basket that all but sealed the Boosters’ fate.
“We shouldn’t have let them get back that close. But any win is a good win,” said Mixers coach Tim Cone. “I thought we lost some of our energy in the second half. Again, I thought Joseph Yeo and June Mar (Fajardo) really showed the energy in the second half.”
Cone was disappointed with the way his wards executed for much of the second half, squandering a comfortable 18-point lead they established during the four-minute mark of the second quarter.
The Boosters were particularly buoyed by the spirited performance of their gentle 6’10” rookie giant Fajardo, who scored 10 of his 16 points in the final period.
Fajardo was a monster off the boards, giving the Boosters a lot of second –chance points. The Cebu native finished the game with 13 rebounds, three steals, one block along with a two-handed follow up slam over De Ocampo at the height of Petron’s fourth-quarter rally.
“I think everybody got a glimpse of what June Mar can do these days. He’s doing that against Yancy and Rafi, battling the boards and he gave them a lot of extra possessions. He made some key rebounds in the fourth,” noted Cone.
San Mig improved to 2-0 while the Boosters dropped to 1-2.
Petron used its height advantage to the hilt, dominating the boards, 57-33. Washington grabbed 11 boards, while Arwind Santos, who led the team in scoring with 18 markers, added eight rebounds.
San Mig Coffee power forward Jean Marc Pingris, who managed to hold his own against Fajardo during the first three quarters, left the game at the final 4:39 mark after hurting his right ankle during a collision with Petron’s rookie center.
The Boosters committed an eye-popping 25 turnovers, ruining what could have been a remarkable fourth-quarter comeback.
Yap led the Mixers with 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals, while the reliable PJ Simon added 17 points, spiked with three three-point shots.
De Ocampo chipped in 14, seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
San Mig Coffee 90- Yap 18, Simon 17, De Ocampo 14, Villanueva 10, Barroca 9, Pingris 7, Devance 5, Reavis 5, Gonzales 3, Ramos 2
Petron 84 – Santos 18, Fajardo 16, Mallari 13, Lutz 13, Yeo 10, Washington 9, Cabagnot 3, Pena 2, Duncil 0, Miranda 0, Ildefonso 0
Quarter scores: 24-21, 49-35, 70-57, 90-84