THERE was no second-half collapse for San Miguel Beer this time.
Alex Cabagnot rediscovered his shooting touch, leading a dominant performance that saw San Miguel Beer smash Alaska, 88-70, and equalize the PBA Philippine Cup championship series at 2-2 on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The six-foot Cabagnot, who shot just 30.4 percent from the field in the first three games of the series, banged in 16 of his game-high 22 points in the first half, which enabled the Beermen to erect a 49-26 halftime advantage.
The Beermen continued their assault in the third canto with Ronald Tubid firing nine of his 13 points off the bench to extend their lead to 55-26.
Although Alaska managed to slice the deficit to just 17 points, 56-73, early in the fourth quarter, San Miguel made sure there won’t be another monumental collapse similar to Game One, where the Beermen blew a 22-point lead, and Game Three where they led a 21-point third-quarter margin disappear.
“After reviewing the first three games, kaya namin kinuha si Alex Cabagnot, he’s one of the main men. Kasama siya sa candidate for Best Player of the Conference and we expected a lot from him,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria, who dedicated the victory to San Miguel Corp. big boss Ramon S. Ang.
Games One and Three saw San Miguel establish leads of 22 and 21 points, respectively. But in both matches, the Beermen threw their big lead away in the second half, allowing the Aces to pull off the come-from-behind victories.
“We experienced a lot of criticisms (after the two losses in the Finals), but we showed to the people that we can also play defense and sustain our energy,” added Austria.
San Miguel imposed its size off the boards by outrebounding Alaska, 53-35.
Two San Miguel players finished with double-double, with Best Player of the Conference June Mar Fajardo scoring 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Arwind Santos added 11 points and 14 boards.
Abueva was the lone double-figure scorer for Alaska with 22 points.
San Miguel (88) -- Cabagnot 22, Tubid 13, Lutz 11, Fajardo 11, Santos 11, Lassiter 10, Kramer 6, Ross 2, Semerad 2, Omolon 0, Pascual 0, Maierhofer 0, Fortuna 0, Chua 0.
Alaska (70) -- Abueva 22, Manuel 9, Exciminiano 8, Baguio 6, Hontiveros 6, Jazul 5, Banchero 4, Thoss 4, Dela Rosa 4, Menk 2, Eman 0, Espinas 0, Dela Cruz 0, Casio 0.
Quarterscores: 33-16; 49-26; 73-49; 88-70.