ELIJAH Millsap shook off the effects of a hurting ankle and led Petron’s blazing endgame blitzkrieg as the Boosters forced a deciding Game Seven of the PBA Governors' Cup Finals with a huge 99-88 win over San Mig Coffee on Wednesday night at the jampacked Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Boosters blew a 16-point second half lead by allowing the Mixers to bounce back and take an 86-85 lead on a driving layup by PJ Simon in the final five minutes of Game Six.
But the 6-foot-4 Millsap, who jammed his left ankle late in the first half, just won’t let his team down and saved the Boosters from imminent defeat.
The prolific import attacked the Mixers’ defense with jump shots and drives to the basket, while getting plenty of help from locals Chris Lutz, Alex Cabagnot, and Marcio Lassiter in the endgame to seal the victory that tied the best-of-seven title series at 3-all.
The winner-take-all match is set Friday also at the Big Dome.
“We’re just very happy with the opportunity presented to us. It’s a great honor to be playing an elite team like them (Mixers),” said a beaming Petron rookie coach Gee Abanilla after the game.
“Now that we extended the series to a Game Seven, it’s gonna be anybody’s ball game. We’re gonna give our best effort to represent the organization well,” he added.
Millsap, who finished with a game-high 30 points, 13 in the final period, said he just can’t let his team down when San Mig mounted the huge fourth quarter rally.
“We don’t want to lose this game. San Mig gave us a tough time all series long, but tonight, we put that effort on the floor,” said the younger brother of Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap.
Rookie big man June Mar Fajardo added 21 points, 14 rebounds, two assists and three blocks, while newly-crowned league MVP Arwind Santos bounced back from two subpar games to add 12 points, six boards, and six assists while bucking early foul trouble.
Marqus Blakely led the Mixers with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Joe Devance and James Yap added 17 apiece.
Petron (99) - Millsap 30, Fajardo 21, Santos 12, Cabagnot 12, Lutz 11, Lassiter 7, Tubid 6, Kramer 0, Hubalde 0, Ildefonso 0.
San Mig Coffee (88) - Blakely 21, Devance 17, Yap 17, Simon 14, Pingris 13, Reavis 4, Mallari 2, Gaco 0, Barroca 0, De Ocampo 0.
Quarterscores: 28-19; 52-39; 74-63; 99-88.