2013-2014 PBA Philippine Cup Roundup: February 1-2, 2014

The 2013-2014 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals shifted into high gear this past weekend with contrasting wins from Petron Blaze and San Mig Super Coffee. The Boosters caught the Rain or Shine flat-footed in Game 3 and throttled the Painters, while the Mixers relied on a decisive fourth quarter run to get back at the Kings and take Game 3.

Marc Pingris came up big in Game 3 for the Mixers.

This past Saturday, Petron Blaze ran roughshod over Rain or Shine, 106-73.

Statement. That’s what this was. The Petron Blaze Boosters had a fast start, for the second straight game if I may add, but this time they finished the job, never letting up in beating the Rain or Shine Elasto-Painters black and blue. Coach Gee Abanilla’s wards started off with a 30-12 first period, and they never lifted pressure off the gas pedal in this masterful rout. Now the series count stands at 2-1, and the momentum is definitely on the side of the Boosters.

In stark contrast to their scintillating fourth quarter rally in Game 2, the Painters fired mostly blanks in this one. Usual reliables Paul Lee and Jeff Chan totaled just 5 points, missing all of their eight combined field goals. As a team, ROS made just 37% of its shots, and, combined with having fewer rebounds and assists and more turnovers, it’s clear that the Painters were simply outclassed by a more motivated rival. Coach Yeng’s wards coughed the ball up 24 times here, which led to 33 points-off-turnovers for the Boosters. The trio of Beau Belga, Chan, and Lee combined for half of their team’s turnover total.

Arwind “Spiderman” Santos was at his best in Game 3, dropping a sublime double-double to lead Petron’s decisive win. Santos drained 3 treys on his way to scoring 22 points, while also shooting 7/7 from the line. More impressively, though, he grabbed a season-high 18 rebounds on top of 2 assists and 2 steals. He was playing perfect two-way ball against the Painters, and if this is any indication of how he’ll play in the foreseeable future, then ROS better batten down the hatches.

In last night’s action from the Big Dome, San Mig Super Coffee defeated Ginebra, 97-89, as, all of a sudden, Mark Barroca looked like the best player in the PBA. The Coffee Prince was absolutely amazing last night in leading the Mixers to a Game 3 win over the Ginebra Gin Kings. The former FEU standout filled the sheet with 25 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. He shot 10/18 form the field and a flawless 4/4 from the line. Together with spitfire rookie guard Justin Melton, Barroca led a decisive run early in the fourth quarter that put some needed separation between SMC and the Kings.

I believe the worst thing that happened to Ginebra here was Emman Monfort getting injured. With about 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter and SMC clinging to just a 3-point lead, Monfort tried to cover SMC big man Ian Sangalang, but the pint-sized PG stepped on the latter’s foot. As a result, Monfort twisted his ankle and had to be helped off the court. Not long after, the Mixers made their run and notched a 2-1 series lead. Had Monfort remained, the Kings might have been able to better match-up with SMC’s speedy backcourt. Now, Monfort’s status is yet unclear, and his absence would surely dampen the Kings’ future chances.

I say Marc Pingris is a lock for the final Gilas twelve bound for Spain and a lock as the best power forward currently playing in the PBA. He guarded pretty much everybody wearing a Ginebra jersey in Game 3, and he was just dominant all over. Ping shot 7/13 from the floor to finish with 15 points while also grabbing a dozen rebounds, handing out 4 dimes, and blocking 1 shot. More he did a swell job limiting Japeth Aguilar, who shot 3/11 from the field, and shadowing Greg Slaughter in the fourth period. Cannot wait to see him try his hand against the likes of Anthony Petrie (AUS), Boris Diaw (FRA), Hector Hernandez (MEX) or, gulp, Carmelo Anthony (USA) in the World Cup.

Game Recaps:
This time, the Petron Blaze Boosters made sure there would be no second half collapse.

The Boosters led from start to finish en route to a masterful 106-73 victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in Game Three of their PLDT Home DSL Philippine Cup series on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.

“It really feels good to finally get our first win this series,” said Petron coach Gee Abanilla.

The Elasto Painters still retain a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series after seeing their 10-game winning streak snapped by the Boosters.

Petron set the tone early, running out to a 30-12 spread after the first quarter. The Boosters led by as much as 29 points in the second period. They never led by less than 13 points the rest of the way, even opening up a 31-point spread during garbage time.

It was in stark contrast to Game Two, when Petron ran out to a big lead in the first half before losing steam in the fourth quarter.

“We played well in the second game, but we didn’t finish it off. We knew what to do in this game all throughout,” said Abanilla.

Reigning PBA Most Valuable Player Arwind Santos led the Boosters with 22 points and 18 rebounds. He even got the goat of Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, who was thrown out of the game late in the third quarter after flashing an obscene gesture at Santos. That resulted in Guiao’s second technical foul of the game.

Despite a spirited effort, Rain or Shine couldn’t sustain its run in the second half because of poor three-point shooting. The Elasto Painters managed just 6-of-24 (25 percent) from beyond the arc.

Alex Cabagnot helped set the tone for Petron with 15 points and four assists, while June Mar Fajardo once again dominated the post with 14 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks.

Rain or Shine top guns Paul Lee and Jeff Chan struggled, combining for just five points on 0-of-8 shooting from the field.

Game Four is set on Monday at 8 p.m. at SMART-Araneta Coliseum, with Abanilla guardedly optimistic about the boost his team gets from the victory.

“This win is a big lift for us. Coming into Game Four, we’ll have more confidence,” said Abanilla. “(But) we have to manage our emotions. We don’t want to turn it into something outrageous.”

PET 106 – Santos 22, Cabagnot 15, Fajardo 14, Lassiter 13, Lutz 11, Kramer 8, Ross 8, Duncil 4, Tubid 3, Taha 3, Deutchman 3, Hubalde 2, Lanete 0.
ROS 73 – Belga 14, Quinahan 10, Almazan 10, Arana 8, Norwood 8, Tiu 7, Tang 4, Ibanes 4, Lee 4, Rodriguez 2, Cruz 1, Chan 1, Nuyles 0, Teng 0.
QS: 30-12, 59-36, 77-62, 106-73

Alex Cabagnot shoots over TY Tang in Game 3.

Arwind Santos skies for a jam against the Painters.

Raymond Almazan gets an inside stab for ROS.

In Game Three’s battle among basketball royalty, the Coffee Prince stood tallest against the towering Gin Kings.

Mark Barroca scored 25 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and handed out five assists to power the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers to a 97-89 victory over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.

“We deserved a good game. Last game was a blowout,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone.

The win gave San Mig Coffee a 2-1 series lead in their Manila Clasico semifinals series in the PLDT Home DSL Philippine Cup.

Barroca led the way, breaking out of a slump after averaging just six points in the first two games of the series. Teaming with backcourt dynamo Justin Melton, Barroca helped the Mixers open the fourth quarter on a 12-5 run for an 83-73 advantage.

Ginebra battled back, scoring the next seven points of the game to come within three, 83-80, on a Greg Slaughter layup with 4:29 left.

But the Mixers responded with a fierce 10-2 run capped by a three-pointer by Barroca that sealed the game, 93-82, with 1:55 left.

The loss spoiled the 29-point, 13-rebounds effort of 7-foot Ginebra rookie Slaughter, who was nearly unguardable in the first three periods before slowing down in the fourth quarter.

“Greg was awesome, he was unbelievable,” said Cone, who assigned defensive ace Marc Pingris to check Slaughter in the final period.

“Such a luxury to have a guy like Ping. He can guard anybody. I haven’t seen anybody like that.”

The Mixers had a hot start behind veterans Peter June Simon, James Yap, and Pingris, taking a 21-6 lead to open the game.

“The guys got a lot of character, coming out strong. I was worried we’re a little tired mentally,” said Cone, whose team scored 19 fastbreak points against two for Ginebra.

“James, PJ, Ping, Rafi (Reavis) and Joe (Devance) set the tone for us that got us in a confident mode.”

In the end, it was the young guys on the floor, with Barroca and Melton being joined by another rookie Ian Sangalang, who did a good job on struggling Ginebra star Japeth Aguilar.

“We got great contributions down the stretch Justin and Ian,” said Cone.

Simon had 19 points for San Mig Coffee. Marc Pingris posted 15 points and 12 rebounds, while James Yap had 13 and nine for the Mixers, which squeaked out a 48-47 advantage off the boards.

Mark Caguioa added 21 points, eight rebounds, and five assists for Ginebra, while LA Tenorio chipped in 14 points. Japeth Aguilar had 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Gin Kings.

Despite the 2-1 edge, Cone said there’s no stepping off the gas pedal against the dangerous Gin Kings.

“It’s gonna be a tough series. We’re still not comfortable being 2-1,” said Cone, as the two teams gear up for Game Four on Wednesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum. “We need to be A-plus to beat this team.”

SMC 97 – Barroca 25, Simon 19, Pingris 15, Yap 13, Devance 8, Reavis 7, Melton 6, Mallari 2, Sangalang 2, De Ocampo 0.
GIN 89 – Slaughter 29, Caguioa 21, Tenorio 14, Aguilar 12, Baracael 7, Ellis 3, Helterbrand 2, Mamaril 1, Ababou 0, Monfort 0.
QS: 25-17, 46-47, 71-68, 97-89

Japeth Aguilar is currently struggling in the semis.

Mark Barroca was an unstoppable dynamo for the Mixers.

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

Images: Unless otherwise specified, images are from the PBA and Sports 5. (Photo credit to Paul Ryan Tan and Nuki Sabio)

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