SAN Mig Coffee wrapped up the No. 2 spot and the twice-to-beat incentive that goes with it after holding off newcomer Globalport, 107-96 on the penultimate playdate of the PBA Philippine Cup elimination round on Friday night at the MOA Arena.
PJ Simon led the Mixers’ final quarter charge as he finished with a game-high 27 points, while Yancy de Ocampo and Marc Pingris added 18 and 14, respectively as San Mig hiked its record to 10-3 - enough to keep it out of reach of Rain or Shine in the race to for the second spot behind runaway leader Talk 'N Text.
“It (win) wasn’t pretty. I think it’s just a lot harder on games like these. It just becomes a real battle. It’s no easy game in the PBA. But we just want to take care of business tonight,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone.
"At some point in the game, I was telling the guys that we need to walk out of here with the win. That got our slots assured so we can start thinking of the playoffs" where the twice-to-beat Mixers will take on seventh-ranked Petron.
The Batang Pier, on the other hand, ended their Philippine Cup campaign on a sour note after dropping their 10th straight game to wind up with a pathetic 1-13 win-loss card.
The Mixers actually entered the final period behind, 73-78. But an 18-2 blitz led by Simon wiped out the deficit and avoided a tight finish for Cone and his team.
Cone said the win gives him an opportunity to probably rest his star forward James Yap, who has been playing hurt the past two games due to bone spurs on both feet, in the team's final elimination-round game against Meralco on Sunday.
“James has been struggling with bone spurs in both feet. Now I will most likely rest him on Sunday because of those bone spurs which has kept him out of practice. That’s why this game is important for us. It gives us time to plan ahead,” said Cone.
The Mixers utilized their huge height advantage to the hilt after winning the battle off the boards, 62-41. The 6-8 De Ocampo grabbed 13 boards while Pingris had 12 in a display of rebounding domination.
Cone said the playoff battle against sister team Petron beginning on Wednesday won't be easy.
“It’s kind of crazy because our reward for winning this game is play Petron. But as I tell the players, you don’t choose the team you play in the playoffs,” said Cone.
Gary David led Globalport with 22 points, while Rabeh Al-Hussaini added 20 and six boards.
San Mig Coffee 107 - Simon 27, De Ocampo 18, Pingris 14, Barroca 12, Ramos 8, Yap 8, Reavis 7, Devance 5, Intal 4, Villanueva 4, Gonzales 0
Globalport 96 - David 22, Al-Hussaini 20, Deutchman 13, Miller 13, Mandani 10, Salvador 6, Guevarra 4, Raymundo 2, Manuel 2, Lingganay 2, Yee 2, Vanlangindham 0
Quarterscores: 20-27, 47-49, 73-78, 107-96