SAN Miguel kept alive its bid for a fifth straight PBA Philippine Cup title after mauling Magnolia, 98-86, in Game Six on Sunday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
With their backs against the wall, Chris Ross provided the spark by making all five of his three-point attempts in the first half to set the tone for the romp.
The Beermen led by as many as 22 and maintained a safe gap in the second half to set up a do-or-die Game Seven on Wednesday night, also at the Big Dome.
“Happy for our players,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria. “Alam nila ‘yung importance ng game na ‘to. Alam nila kung paano manalo ng championship.”
It was a big bounce-back win for San Miguel, which was sent crashing by a buzzer-beater by Mark Barroca in a Game Five where the Beermen only shot 29 percent from the field.
Ross had 17 points including two of San Miguel’s five three-pointers in the first quarter as the Beermen immediately took command, 25-12.
June Mar Fajardo dominated with 23 points, 18 rebounds, and two blocks while Marcio Lassiter snapped out of a shooting slump by scoring 20 points.
The SMB bench also chipped in, with Christian Standhardinger contributing 16 points including back-to-back baskets in a 6-0 run to start the second quarter, 31-12.
Jio Jalalon scored 17 points while Ian Sangalang had 14 points for the Hotshots, who were only down by six points, 68-62, to start the fourth quarter only to allow the Beermen to pull away again.
San Miguel 98 – Fajardo 23, Lassiter 20, Ross 17, Standhardinger 16, Romeo 9, Santos 8, Cabagnot 3, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Pessumal 0.
Magnolia 86 – Jalalon 17, Sangalang 14, Reavis 13, Brondial 12, Lee 10, Barroca 6, Herndon 5, Dela Rosa 5, Melton 4, Simon 0, Pascual 0.
Quarters: 25-12; 50-36; 68-62; 98-86.