MARK Barroca and James Yap led a San Mig fightback against Talk ‘N Text in Game Four in a 100-91 victory that gave them the PBA Commissioner’s Cup championship – the team’s third in a row dating back to last season.
The indomitable Barroca banged in 12 of his 22 points and Yap all of his 10 points in the final period when the Mixers came roaring back from a 17-point, third-quarter deficit to the delight of a full-house at the oven-hot Philsports Arena.
By wrapping up the best-of-five finals 3-1, San Mig moved on the brink of completing a season grand slam – a feat last achieved by current Mixers coach Tim Cone with Alaska in 1996.
“I’m really speechless at this point,” said Cone, shortly after winning the 17th championship of his career – and his fourth with the former Purefoods franchise on the same court where he won his first one with Alaska.
“I said at halftime, I yelled at them, ‘You guys decide whether you want to rest for Game Five or not,” added Cone, who courted controversy when he benched Yap and his other stars late in the Texters’ only win of the series in Game Two.
“Then they (Mixers) yelled, ‘We’re not ready.’ They were more ready to play in the second half than I was, they battled and battled and battled.”
It was a huge comeback for the Mixers, who started out flat after falling behind, 1-17 during the first six minutes of the first quarter. The Texters ended the first half with a 52-38 lead after NIno Canaleta drained a three-point shot from the corner.
But the Mixers refused to go away, unloading 16 straight points in a late third quarter run, capped by a basket inside by Marc Pingris to get their first taste of the lead at 69-68.
“Well, the ball was falling into our hands. And just everything went our way in the last six minutes of the game,” Cone said.
James Mays finished with a double-doubleof 18 points, 15 rebounds and five steals, while Joe Devance and rookie Ian Sangalang added 12 apiece.
Jimmy Alapag, who went scoreless in Game Three, led the Texters with 17 points, Best Import Richard Howell added 16 and 12 boards.