BEHIND a relentless defense and razor-sharp offense, Petron Blaze turned an expected tight game against San Mig Coffee into a one-sided affair, 90-68, to take Game Three of the PBA Governors Cup Finals Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Boosters came to the game without their two injured point guards Alex Cabagnot (plantar fascitis) and Chico Lanete (hamstring), but their absence hardly mattered as the Boosters dominated from start to finish and took control again of the best-of-seven Finals, 2-1.
Game Four is set on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Rookie big man June Mar Fajardo came away with another dominant effort, finishing with 19 points and nine rebounds, while serving as the team’s anchor on defense.
“We’re very happy with the way the team responded after that loss in Game Two. We always tell our players the mark of a good team is knowing how we can come back from that Game Two loss,” said Petron rookie coach Gee Abanilla, whose Boosters bowed to the Mixers on Sunday, 93-100.
A huge second quarter turned the tide in Petron’s favor as it held San Mig to just 10 points while uncorking 27 in return en route to a 55-30 halftime bubble.
That second-quarter breakaway was all the Boosters needed in dealing a quick knockout against one of the league’s top defensive teams.
With Cabagnot nursing an injury, Abanilla decided to let import Elijah Millsap take care of the playmaking chores in the first half -- an idea which he said the Boosters already tinkered with even before the start of the season-ending conference.
“That’s something that gave us a positive output before pa mag-simula ang conference. And in this game, we just tried him at the point guard position, eh medyo maganda naman ang kinalabasan,” explained the Petron rookie coach who is just two wins from steering the SMC franchise to its 20th league championship.
Despite calling the plays, Millsap still led the Boosters with 28 points, spiked by five triples to go along with eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
Best Import Marqus Blakely paced the Mixers with a quiet 17 points and 10 boards, while James Yap was the only local player to score in double-figures with 10.
Petron (90) -- Millsap 28, Fajardo 19, Lassiter 13, Santos 10, Hubalde 9, Miranda 6, Tubid 5, Deutchman 0, Lutz 0, Kramer 0, Isip 0, Ildefonso 0.
San Mig Coffee (68) -- Blakely 17, Yap 10, Mallari 9, Devance 9, Barroca 7, Simon 6, Pingris 5, Reavis 3, Alvarez 1, Gaco 1, Ponferrada 0, Acuna 0, Najorda 0, De Ocampo 0.
Quarterscores: 28-20; 55-30; 77-52; 90-68.