2013 PBA Governors’ Cup Roundup: September 29 – October 1, 2013

The semifinal series between the San Mig Coffee Mixers and the Meralco Bolts is square at 1-1 while the Petron Blaze leads its own series against Rain or Shine, 1-0, in the 2013 PBA Governors’ Cup.

Marqus Blakely stuffs it hard in Game 1.

In Sunday’s lone game, the Mixers beat the Bolts, 83-73, behind the breakout performance of Joe Devance, who torched Meralco for 17 points on 7/10 FG shooting. Marqus Blakely backed him up with 15 points and 10 rebounds while “Big Game” James Yap also rattled in 15 markers. The Mixers won despite having fewer rebounds and assists than the Bolts. This is mainly because coach Tim Cone’s wards shot much better from the field, making 45% of their FGs, while Meralco connected on only 36%.

This past Monday, Petron upended Rain or Shine, 91-83, behind the sublime 41-point explosion of Elijah Millsap. Millsap shot 50% from the floor, including 3 triples, on his way to that awesome output, while also adding 14 rebounds and 3 assists. He was supported by June Mar Fajrdo’s impressive double-double line of 15 points, 17 boards, and 2 blocks. Alex Cabagnot also played well, shooting 6/11 form the field on his way to 18 markers. Jeff Chan of ROS continued to struggle with his shot here, making just 1/7 from beyond the arc despite scoring 16 points in all. Apart from him and Arizona Reid, nobody else scored in double-digits for coach Yeng Guiao.

In last night’s gritty affair, Meralco leveled their semis series after overcoming San Mig Coffee, 73-69. Now, the Bolts don't really have the same star-powered local lineup that other teams have, but these guys, when they're on, can really put the hurt. Four locals stepped up here for coach Ryan Gregorio, led by the duo of Reynel Hugnatan and Cliff Hodge. The double H bombs dropped a combined 27 points, 21 rebounds, and 5 steals for the Bolts. They visibly outplayed the likes of Joe Devance and Marc Pingris, who paired up for only 7 rebounds and ZERO points in 55 minutes.

I love Mario West's aggressiveness, but sometimes that can be a bane, especially when he shoots like he did here. West connected on just 8/36 field goals by game's end, missing all four of his threes and building a brick house where there should be none. He kinda made up for it with 11 boards, 4 dimes, and 4 thefts, but I still want to see him pour the pain as a scorer. No way Meralco will get another win if he continues his cold spell.

No how about this new moniker for Jared Dillinger – “Asian Jesus?” It wasn't exactly trending or anything like that, but it's a pretty nifty nickname for the "resurrected" Fil-Am, who's sporting an uncomfortable amount of facial hair (hello Rabbi Jared -- yeah I hope I didn't cross any lines there). The guy formerly known as #DareDevil (how ironic!) may not be 100% yet, but he sure was effective here, hitting 4/8 FGs to end up with 10 points along with 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block.

Game Recaps:
The San Mig Coffee Mixers used tough defense to go on a late run to get away from the Meralco Bolts, 83-73, in the opening game of their best-of-five semifinals series on Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

It was a tight defensive struggle between the two teams for most of the game, with Meralco behind by only a single point midway through the fourth quarter, 70-69, after a desperation three-pointer by John Wilson to beat the 24-second buzzer.

But the Mixers went down to business, scoring the next nine points in a furious run capped by a two-handed fastbreak dunk by Marc Pingris to finally put Meralco away.

“It was a great defensive struggle,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone. “Both teams are really great defensively.”

San Mig Coffee was sluggish to start the game, and Cone admitted that the team was still feeling the effects of its tough series against Alaska in the quarterfinals.

“No doubt we were emotionally drained from our last game against Alaska,” said Cone, who added his team “lacked some energy” to start the game.

“We just hung around until we got something going.”

Joe Devance had 17 points to lead San Mig Coffee, while James Yap and Marqus Blakely posted 15 apiece. Blakely added 10 rebounds and two blocks.

But the Mixers on the defensive end, holding Meralco to just 36.3 shooting from the field. They hounded Meralco import Mario West to just nine points after making just the of 16 shots (18 percent).

Cone expects more of the same for the rest of the series.

“I don’t think this is going to be a pretty series,” said Cone. “This is going to be a battle of attrition.”

SMC 83 - Devance 17, Blakely 15, Yap 15, Mallari 12, Pingris 8, Barroca 7, Simon 7, Reavis 2, Acuna 0, Najorda 0
MER 73 - Hodge 19, Cortez 12, Wilson 10, West 9, Reyes 6, Cardona 6, Hugnatan 6, Dillinger 2, Salvacion 2, Ross 1
QS: 18-22, 35-38, 57-55, 83-73

Mike Cortez is the new Zorro.

Joe Devance was unstoppable in Game 1.

Elijah Millsap scored 41 points, including 11 straight during a stretch in the fourth quarter, to carry the Petron Blaze Boosters to a 91-83 victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Monday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The win gave the Boosters a 1-0 lead in their best-of-five Governors’ Cup finals series.

“I think he bailed us out tonight,” said Petron coach Gee Abanilla on Millsap, who added 14 rebounds.

Millsap’s heroics was enough for Petron to pull off the victory, despite just two other local players scoring in double-figures for the Boosters. Alex Cabagnot finished with with 18 points while June Mar Fajardo dominated the paint with 15 points and 17 rebounds.

No one else scored more than four points for the Boosters.

“Next time, we need more contributions from the locals. I think some of the locals must step up the next game,” said Abanilla. Notably, Petron star forward Arwind Santos scored just four points, but had 10 rebounds and four steals.

Abanilla expected a tough outing coming into the game, and it was a slugfest, with both teams shooting below 40 percent for the game.

Petron held a brief double-digit advantage in the second half, but Rain or Shine rallied back in the fourth quarter, grabbing the lead behind Beau Belga and Ryan Arana.

But Millsap came to the rescue for Petron down the stretch for the Boosters’ 10th straight victory in the tournament.

Arizona Reid led Rain or Shine with 28 points and 11 rebounds, but was visibly hobbled in the second half while suffering cramps. He scored just two points in the fourth period.

Abanilla warned against a backlash from the Elasto Painters in Game Two, which is slated on Wednesday at Cuneta Astrodome.

“We can’t afford to lose that edge against them,” said Abanilla. “We have to remember they’re the defending champions. They’re up to a big game.”

PET 91 – Millsap 41, Cabagnot 18, Fajardo 15, Lassiter 4, Santos 4, Tubid 4, Lanete 3, Lutz 2, Kramer 0, Ildefonso 0.
ROS 83 – Reid 28, Chan 16, Belga 7, Arana 7, Matias 6, Rodriguez 6, Cruz 5, Uyloan 4, Norwood 2, Tiu 1, Tang 1, Quinahan 0, Ibanes 0.
QS: 26-23, 49-44, 73-68, 91-83

Arizona Reid is visibly frustrated.

Elijah Millsap goes up unmolested.

The Meralco Bolts figured in another defensive slugfest against the San Mig Coffee Mixers, but this time came out on top with a 73-69 victory on Tuesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

With the win, the Bolts tied the series at 1-all.

Meralco used a balanced attack to win its first final four game in franchise history, with five players finishing in double-figures. Mario West struggled from the field anew, scoring 17 points but going just 8-of-36 (22 percent) from the field.

Reynel Hugnatan had 15 points and 12 rebounds while Cliff Hodge added 12 and nine for the Bolts, who won despite shooting just above 30 percent from the field.

But Meralco dominated the paint anew, grabbing 20 offensive rebounds to score 10 points. The Bolts won the battle of the boards, 54-47.

“It’s going to be a grind with both teams concentrating on defense,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio. “We just scored enough.”

Sunday Salvacion and Jared Dillinger provided additional firepower for Meralco. Salvacion shot 3-of-6 from beyond the arc to open up the defense, while Dillinger had his best outing since joining the Bolts, finishing with 10 points and four assists while playing three different positions.

Meralco controlled the game from the beginning, taking a 19-8 lead after the opening period.

“They came out flat, so we pounced on them,” said Gregorio.

San Mig Coffee rallied in the second half behind Marqus Blakely, who scored 21 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter. But the prolific Mixers import struggled anew from the free throw line, making just 12-of-26 shots for a 46.2 percent clip.

James Yap added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Mixers, who drew little production from its starting local frontline. Neither Marc Pingris nor Joe Devance scored a point in the game and combined for just seven rebounds.

The series resumes on Friday with Game Three at the Big Dome, with Gregorio expecting more of the same.

“It’s gonna be harder from here on,” said Gregorio.

MER 73 – West 17, Hugnatan 15, Hodge 12, Salvacion 12, Dillinger 10, Wilson 5, Reyes 2, Ross 0, Cardona 0, Cortez 0.
SMC 69 – Blakely 24, Yap 13, De Ocampo 10, Reavis 9, Mallari 4, Barroca 4, Simon 3, Najorda 2, Pinferrada 0, Gaco 0, Devance 0, Pingris 0.
QS: 19-8, 34-30, 56-50, 73-69

The Asian Jesus, Jared Dillinger.

World U18 Slam Dunk champion Kobe Paras watched last night.
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 Paolo Papa and Pranz Kaeno Billones)

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