San Miguel puts away Rain or Shine in four to set up finals grudge match against Alaska
SMB slotman June Mar Fajardo was a formidable force inside the paint. Jerome Ascano

SAN Miguel Beer withstood another fightback by Rain or Shine to hack out a 117-110 victory on Wednesday night and set up a PBA Governors’ Cup Finals showdown against Alaska.

The Beermen saw their 19-point lead almost disintegrate, no thanks to a rally by the Elasto Painters, who pulled off an amazing come-from-behind win in Game Two.

SMB, however, had the answers this time to close out the best-of-five semifinal series in four games.

“This hard-earned win is credit to all my players,” Beermen coach Leo Austria said. “They really didn’t want to lose.”

AZ Reid and June Mar Fajardo hit the crucial baskets down the stretch, while Arwind Santos provided the hustle and energy in another balanced effort for the Beermen, who arranged a finals rematch with the Aces, the same team they beat in the Philippine Cup title series.

Game One of the best-of-seven Finals is on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Reid finished with 38 points, but had to take 37 shots to reach his total, although the SMB import buried the attempts that mattered, scoring 10 in the payoff period and two on a jumphook that proved to be the final nail in the coffin at 113-106.

Fajardo once again proved unstoppable down low as he finished with 27 points and seven boards, while Santos added 15 points, 14 boards, three steals, and two blocks in 35 minutes.

At the start of the quarter, the Beermen seemed poised for a blowout victory as they were enjoying a 93-74 cushion when the Painters chewed off their deficit Gabe Norwood, Wendell Mckines, and Jeff Chan.

Norwood, usually just a facilitator, proved more aggressive on offense and scored 11 of his 15 points in the payoff period, while Mckines added eight of his team-high 25 markers.

Chan chipped in six in the fourth, including a transition three-pointers that cut it to 108-104, before Santos retaliated with his own trey.

Paul Lee, the Painters’ closer, was scoreless in the payoff period and could only muster 13 markers in all.


The scores:

SMB 117 - Reid 38, Fajardo 27, Santos 15, Lassiter 12, Cabagnot 11, Espinas 6, Ross 5, Lutz 3, Tubid 0

ROS 110 – McKines 25, Chan 21, Norwood 15, Lee 13, Almazan 9, Quinahan 8, Cruz Jericho 7, Tiu 5, Arana 4, Ibanes 2, Belga 1, Uyloan 0

Quarterscores: 31-20, 64-50, 93-74, 117-110

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