WHAT was supposed to be impossible is now close to reality for San Miguel Beer.
The Beermen moved on the verge of history, frustrating Alaska anew with a 100-89 decision on Friday night to drag the PBA Philippine Cup Finals to a deciding game at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
San Miguel gave the Aces a dose of their own medicine, pouncing on their uncharacteristic miscues that translated them into transition baskets in Game Six to remarkably move a win away from becoming the first PBA team in over four decades to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a seven-game series.
Marcio Lassiter came off the bench and was on target from long range, while June Mar Fajardo continued his recovery and gave an even bigger lift to the Beermen, who have actually already made history by becoming the first team to force a deciding game after being down in the first three games.
“We haven’t proven anything yet,” SMB coach Leo Austria stressed. “Since Game Four, nandun yung urge nilang manalo. Pinakita nila ang heart of a champion.”
The pulsating series gets a breather as Game Seven won’t be until Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Beermen clung to a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter of what had been nip-and-tuck battle that saw 15 lead changes and 10 deadlocks.
But the defending champions banked on an early surge that enabled them to take a sizeable double-digit cushion that was enough to weather a late stand by the Aces, who came no closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Lassiter knocked down four triples to finish with 26 points, including two that capped that early run and gave them their biggest lead at 83-68. The conversion was fed by Fajardo, who tallied 16 points and seven boards in 22 minutes.
Vic Manuel continued to lead the Aces with 21 points, including nine in the payoff period where he found little help from his teammates.
SMB 100 – Lassiter 26, Fajardo 16, De Ocampo 14, Cabagnot 10, Santos 10, Ross 8, Tubid 7, Espinas 4, Heruela 2, Lutz 2, Arana 1
ALASKA 89 – Manuel 21, Abueva 17, Jazul 13, Casio 11, Thoss 8, Baclao 6, Banchero 6, Menk 3, Baguio 2, Exciminiano 2, Dela Cruz 0, Hontiveros 0
Quarterscores: 22-29, 51-49, 67-66, 100-89