IT was a matter of the defending champion losing its focus and concentration that led to San Mig Coffee’s 82-89 heartbreaker in overtime against Alaska in Game 3 of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series Wednesday night.
Coach Tim Cone said everything seemed going well for the Mixers after registering a 54-38 lead in the third quarter behind a Joe Devance basket inside over Alaska rookie Calvin Abueva.
But then Abueva began to make his presence felt on both ends of the floor and the Aces took the cue from there.
Suddenly the roof caved in on the Mixers as they allowed the Aces to pull off the huge come-from-behind win fashioned out before a record crowd of 23,108 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We lost in overtime. What can I say? We lost our focus, we lost our concentration in overtime,” rued Cone, who just arrived early this week from the US to attend the graduation of his daughter.
“We had an opportunity to win in regulation but we missed free throws. They (Aces) did a good job hanging around and stealing it from us. They were well coached.”
Two-time league MVP James Yap and reigning Best Import Denzel Bowles could only split their respective free throws inside the final 21.5 seconds of regulation, paving the way for overtime.
Nonetheless, Cone still sounded confident heading to Game Four set on Saturday, even with his team down 1-2 in the best-of-five series.
“We’ve been here before. Our backs were against the wall before. We just need to put this (Game Three loss) away and move forward,” said the fiery San Mig mentor.
Bowles sizzled in the first half with 16 points, but could only score three the rest of the way to finish with 19 on 7-of-20 shooting.
Mark Barroca and Marc Pingris chipped in 15 points apiece, though Yap finished with just seven on 2-of-13 field goal shooting.