SAN Miguel Beer flaunted its vaunted form down the stretch when Rain or Shine failed to get anything going to roll to a 103-94 victory on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum and move on the verge of a finals berth in the PBA Philippine Cup.
The Beermen pulled away from a tight contest when it mattered most to win a second straight game and regain command of their best-of-seven series at 3-2.
June Mar Fajardo sustained his dominance with 27 points and 12 boards – numbers relatively below his norms in this series, yet still good enough to lead the Beermen in moving a step away from sealing a rematch with Alaska.
“We achieved nothing yet,” SMB coach Leo Austria said. “But the players are starting to pick up.”
The Beermen can wrap the series up in Game Six on Friday night also at the Big Dome.
SMB was clinging to only a two-point lead late in the third quarter when they scored seven unanswered points bridging the last two quarters that set the tone for the rout.
Fajardo still had to play 40 minutes, but had plenty of help once again as seven other Beermen chipped in at least eight points each.
Alex Cabagnot fired 14 markers, including one on a free throw that gave the Beermen their biggest lead at 92-76 halfway through the fourth.
Marcio Lassiter buried two triples and finished with 12 points, the same output as Arwind Santos, who scored eight points in the final frame to spearhead the breakaway.
JR Quinahan stepped up in the continued absence of Raymond Almazan, leading the Painters with 20 points in 28 minutes, but Paul Lee was held to just seven points in 22 minutes after firing 18 in Game Four.
SMB 103 – Fajardo 27, Cabagnot 14, Lassiter 12, Santos 12, Espinas 9, Ross 9, Tubid 9, Arana 8, Lutz 3, Reyes 0
ROS 94 – Quinahan 20, Chan 15, Cruz 13, Ponferada 13, Belga 9, Norwood 8, Lee 7, Ahanmisi 5, Tiu 4, Teng 0, Trollano 0
Quarterscores: 17-13, 50-45, 72-68, 103-94