2013 PBA Governors’ Cup Roundup: October 4, 2013

Alex Mallari turned a lot of heads with his awe-inspiring performance in Game 3 as the San Mig Coffee Mixers beat the Meralco Bolts to take a 2-1 series lead in the 2013 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals.

Alex Mallari dropped 23 big ones as the
Mixers moved within a win of the Finals.

Rookie Alex Mallari probably watched fellow greenhorn June Mar Fajardo drop a career game two nights ago, so this time he was the one who did it, scoring a career-high 23 points on 9/13 FG shooting to lead the SMC Mixers to a 2-1 series lead against the Meralco Bolts. Mallari hit a key triple and a slew of free throws in the waning minutes of Game 3 to move his team within a win of the Govs' Cup Finals after they won, 94-87.

Was it intentional or not? That's one of the hot issues that went under the microscope as Meralco import Mario West sprained his shoulder after getting fouled by SMC's Joe Devance. Devance and the SMC fans, naturally, insist there was nothing intentional about it, and that getting injured because of fouls is part of the game, but, on the other side, Meralco's brain trust isn't about to absorb the issue at face value. At the very least, this should make things really heated in Game 4.

I love the fact that, despite West going down, Meralco stuck around till the very end. It shows the pride the Bolts have as a basketball team, but not even their efforts were enough to contain SMC import Marqus Blakely, who went to town in West's absence. Blakely unloaded 21 points, 22 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 blocks, and 3 steals against the hapless Bolts, who will surely need West back in Game 4 if they are to extend this series to a do-or-die Game 5.

Game Recaps:
San Mig Coffee moved one step away from a return to the Governors’ Cup finals, and the Mixers found a most unlikely hero in Alex Mallari.

The rookie guard scored a career-high 23 points, including 13 in the fourth period, to lead his team’s 94-87 win on Friday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

“Alex was awesome tonight,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone.

The Mixers caught a good break when Meralco import Mario West left with a right shoulder sprain after a foul by San Mig Coffee forward Joe Devance.

“We were fortunate that Mario went out,” said Cone.

Despite playing with an all-Filipino lineup, the Bolts did not go away. They were still within striking distance trailing by two points, 81-79, when Mallari hit a three-pointer with 2:38 left.

That touched off a 7-0 run that gave San Mig Coffee an 88-79 spread with 1:25 remaining.

Four quick points for Meralco cut the lead to just four points, 88-83. Mallari made both of his free throws in the next possession to give San Mig Coffee more breathing room.

Mallari almost went from hero to goat in the next play, fouling John Wilson on a three-point basket. Wilson completed the four-point play to come within a single possession, 90-87, with 26.2 seconds left.

But Mallari atoned for it with two more free throws to ice the game for the Mixers, who took a 2-1 advantage in their best-of-five semis series.

Apart from his offensive game, Cone heaped praise on Mallari’s performance on defense.

“The best part of Alex’s game is defense,” said Cone. “People don’t always see it because he’s a rookie, but he’s such a great defender.”

Import Marqus Blakely also came up big for San Mig Coffee, stuffing the stat sheeet with 21 points, 22 rebounds, five assists, four blocks, and three steals. He also performed much better from the free throw line, making 12-of-19 shots from the line.

Mark Barroca and James Yap added 18 and 13 points, respectively, for San Mig Coffee, which won the battle of the boards, 55-41, for the first time in the series.

Mike Cortez had 15 points, eight rebounds, and five assists for Meralco, leading seven players with at least nine points for the Bolts.

SMC 94 – Mallari 23, Blakely 21, Barroca 18, Yap 13, Devance 7, Pingris 4, Reavis 4, Acuna 2, Simon 2.
MER 87 – Cortez 15, West 13, Wilson 13, Hodge 11, Hugnatan 11, Dillinger 10, Salvacion 9, Cardona 3, Reyes 2, Guevarra 0, Ross 0.
QS: 17-22, 44-42, 66-64, 94-87.

Marqus Blakely waylaid Meralco after
Mario West got injured.

Mike Cortex tried to rally the Bolts, but to no avail.

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 Paul Ryan Tan)

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