PETER June Simon sparked San Mig Coffee’s fourth-quarter surge while sophomore guard Mark Barroca put the finishing touches to a thrilling 88-87 win over Meralco on Friday night that gave the Mixers the No. 2 seeding entering the PBA Governors Cup playoffs.
Barroca once again stood tall for San Mig in the endgame, scoring the team's last four points including a breakaway layup off a jump ball that opened an 88-84 lead for the Mixers, time down to 10.4 seconds.
Meralco’s Mike Cortez responded with a quick three-pointer to slash the Mixers’ lead to one before Rafi Reavis threw a wild cross-court inbound pass which Meralco import Mario West intercepted, giving the Bolts a chance to steal the win.
West, however, airballed his last-second three-point attempt with San Mig import Marqus Blakely contesting the shot as time expired, allowing the Mixers to close out the eliminations with a fifth straight win.
San Mig improved to 6-3 (win-loss) overall to put a lock on the second seeding in the quarterfinals, behind Petron’s league-best 8-1 record.
The loss dropped the Bolts (5-4), leaving them in a heated race for a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Eight.
Barroca's late-game explosion preserved the game-long heroics of Simon, who scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half, and Blakely who led the Mixers with 24 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and six blocks.
San Mig Coffee 88 - Blakely 24, Simon 20, Mallari 8, Yap 8, Pingris 7, Barroca 6, Maliksi 5, Devance 5, Reavis 5, De Ocampo 0.
Meralco 87 - West 31, Hodge 19, Wilson 13, Reyes 6, Hugnatan 6, Salvacion 6, Cortez 4, Cardona 2, Guevarra 0, Ross 0, Allado 0.
Quarterscores: 34-24, 50-47, 64-70, 88-87