2013 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals Roundup: October 11-13, 2013

The Finals of the 2013 PBA Governors’ Cup suddenly became a best-of-five affair after sister teams Petron Blaze and San Mig Coffee split the first two games of the series.

Marqus Blakely and Elijah Millsap led their teams to
one win apiece in the first two games of the titular series.

In Game 1, Petron used a strong start and a strong finish to bookend its impressive 100-84 win over San Mig Coffee. The Mixers were able to recover after falling behind by double-digits early in the game, even leading entering the fourth quarter, 61-59. The Boosters, however, responded with torrid outside shooting, making 7 triples in the final frame to leave their foes sulking in the  dust. Leading the charge in that pivotal fourth period rally were former Gilas wingmen Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz, both of whom combined for 19 of Petron’s 41 fourth quarter points.

On the other end, the Mixers weren’t able to get much from import Marqus Blakely in the last twelve minutes of the game. Blakely scored just two markers in that last stanza to finish with 23 points overall. Big Game James Yap also struggled in this one. The former UE Red Warrior made just 2/9 from the field and finished with 8 points. He scored 0 in the first three quarters of the match.

The best player of the game, by far, was Petron import Elijah Millsap, who continued to thrill the Boosters’ fans with his amazing all-around play. Millsap actually registered his third triple-double of the conference, scoring 35 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and handing out 10 assists. If coach Tim Cone’s Mixers harbor any hopes of making a series out of this one, then they have to find a way to contain Millsap.

In Game 2, though, things were turned around as San Mig Coffee overcame Petron Blaze, 100-93. Best Import awardee Marqus Blakely proved why he was deserving of the citation, scoring 23 points, grabbing 16 rebounds, handing out 6 assists, and getting 4 steals as he played all of 45 minutes, leading the Mixers in a big Game 2 win to tie the series at 1-1. Blakely was outplayed in the fourth period of Game 1, so he was raring to go and make minced meat out of the Petron defense. He did just that, apparently, but he still needs to improve his FT shooting; he connected on just 7/21 freebies.

Three guys fouled out for the Boosters here -- their import Elijah Millsap and their starting frontcourt (Arwind Santos and June Mar Fajardo). Obviously, that never augurs well for the team. It was probably frustration more than anything else, of course, since Petron is so used to coming out of these things the winner. It was fun to see them hit some threes and cut the lead down to a single basket with under 9 seconds left, but this time around they couldn't complete the comeback.

Santos was named Best Player of Conference, while SMC's own James Yap was barely an afterthought. In this game, however, Yap outperformed Santos by a mile. Yap produced 17 points, 8 boards, 3 dimes, and 1 steal in a great all-around effort, while the BPC managed just 4 markers, 1 rebound, and 1 block in a foul-plagued 27 minutes of action.

Game Recaps:
The Petron Blaze Boosters used a furious fourth quarter charge to take a 100-84 victory over the San Mig Coffee Mixers in Game One of the Governors’ Cup finals on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

After scoring just 59 points in the first three quarters, the Boosters poured down 41 huge points in the final period to book the win in their first match in the championship round since winning the tournament in 2011.

“I just thought we played a great fourth quarter,” said Petron coach Gee Abanilla, who was victorious in his first finals game as a PBA head coach. “I’m surprised also. We just got into a rhythm.”

Petron made 7-of-11 shots from beyond the arc in the final period, to break down the tight defense of the Mixers.

“They got rolling with their three-point shooting,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone. “When they started making their threes, they got a little bit ahead.”

Elijah Millsap had his third triple-double of the tournament, finishing with 35 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.

“He’s just showing different dimensions of his game,” said Abanilla. “Even though he scores a lot, he still shares the ball.”

Chris Lutz provided a big spark in the fourth quarter, making 3-of-3 shots from three-point distance to score all 11 of his points in the period. Lutz and Marcio Lassiter, who had eight points in the final quarter, played so well that star forward Arwind Santos didn’t see action anymore for the Boosters after the third period.

Marqus Blakely led San Mig Coffee with 23 points and 14 rebounds, but scored just two points in the fourth quarter. Mixers superstar James Yap struggled all game, scoring just eight points, all in the final period.

Abanilla downplayed the importance of winning the game in the context of the best-of-seven matchup, which resumes with Game Two on Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

“This means nothing as of now. It’s a long series.”

PET 100 – Millsap 35, Santos 16, Fajardo 12, Lassiter 12, Lutz 11, Cabagnot 10, Miranda 2, Tubid 2, Kramer 0.
SMC 84 – Blakely 23, Pingris 16, Simon 13, Devance 10, Yap 8, Barroca 6, De Ocampo 4, Mallari 2, Reavis 2, Acuna 0.
QS: 23-18, 41-36, 59-61, 100-84

Coach Chot Reyes of Gilas Pilipinas receives a plaque
from the PBA for leading his team to the World Cup.

Yancy De Ocampo tries to shoot over
fellow big man June Mar Fajardo.

The San Mig Coffee Mixers tied the PLDT Telpad Governors’ Cup finals with a 100-93 victory, but not before fending off a late charge from a spirited Petron squad at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum on Sunday.

Marqus Blakely, who was named the tournament’s Best Import before the game, led San Mig Coffee with 23 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, and four steals. James Yap added 17 points and eight rebounds for the Mixers, who saw a double-digit lead whittled down to just three points in the dying seconds.

San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone marvelled at the grit shown by the Boosters squad, who had to play all-Filipino in the last 3:29 of the game after import Elijah Millsap fouled out.

“I was beginning to think that this team wasn’t gonna lose,” said Cone.

The game was a tense affair, with things reaching a boiling point after Arwind Santos elbowed Blakely, resulting in a technical foul on the Petron Blaze forward with 2:55 remaining.

“They got a little frustrated tonight, they got used to winning,” said Cone. “We may be sister teams but we’re certainly not friendly.”

Peter June Simon made the technical free throw to give the Mixers an 89-79 edge.

Apart from Millsap, Santos and June Mar Fajardo also fouled out for Petron in the fourth quarter.

But Petron did not go away, with Alex Cabagnot hitting a three-pointer to trigger a late charge from the Boosters.

Ronald Tubid capped the 14-7 run with a three-pointer with 8.6 seconds left that cut the Petron deficit to only three points, 96-93.

But San Mig Coffee proved steady from the foul line, hitting four free throws to finally put the game away.

The Mixers showed good balance on the offensive end, with seven players contributing at least eight points apiece.

Millsap led Petron with 31 points while Cabagnot added 22. Fajardo finished with 16 point for the Boosters.

SMC 100 – Blakely 23, Yap 17, Simon 16, Devance 15, Pingris 11, Barroca 9, Mallari 8, Reavis 1, De Ocampo 0.
PET 93 – Millsap 31, Cabagnot 22, Fajardo 16, Lassiter 10, Tubid 5, Santos 4, Miranda 3, Kramer 2, Lutz 0.
QS: 30-23, 49-44, 74-62, 100-93            

James Yap unloaded a brilliant performance
in Game 2.

Arwind Santos of Petron won BPC.

Marqus Blakely of SMC was named Best Import.

Source: Unless otherwise specified, game recaps were compressed and compiled from InterAKTV. (Writing credit to Rey Joble)

Images: Images are from InterAKTV. (Photo credit to Pranz Kaeno Billones, Paul Ryan Tan, and Paolo Papa)

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