2014 PBA Philippine Cup Finals: Devance comes up big as Mixers take Game 3!

#Whattafinish. Whether you’re a member of Bayan ng ROS or San Mig Coffee Planet, one thing’s for sure — you probably had a great time watching this cardiac ballgame. It was back and forth all the way, even when the Painters seemed to make a run early in the third quarter as James Yap got tagged with foul #4. After that, the Mixers came up with several big plays down the stretch that enabled them to squeak past their foes. Once again, Joe Devance came up big here, dropping 13 points on top of 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal. He is norming 13.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in the last two games. Happy birthday, JDV!!!

Joe Devance followed up his great Game 2 performance by
playing well again last night.

That final minute had a lot of heart-stopping moments (Did Paul Lee’s shot graze the rim? That James Yap long tom went nowhere afterwards.), but the most tense sequence was definitely the last one. Fresh from the memory of Lee hitting the game-clincher in the first match of the series, the Mixers played the Painters tight in the last play. They knew that ROS’s fate would come down to just two people — Lee or Jeff Chan. 

Here’s how things went down in the last 10.6 seconds: Lee was shadowed well by Alex Mallari and then JDV did a good job switching on the screen to continue limiting the Leethal Weapon’s options. Chan popped out quickly with Marc Pingris a split-second too slow to react, but the Gilas sniper received the ball a good 5 feet beyond the arc (too far even for him). He got the ball with about 4.9 seconds to go, but the rest of his teammates just stood watching. For a second or so, Rain or Shine was on wait-and-see mode, and that, ultimately, did them in. Maybe had Gabe Norwood moved to offer a screen, maybe if Chan had driven to the key and attracted the defense, or maybe had Lee turned the corner against Devance and kicked out to Chan with about 2-3 seconds to go, life would’ve been more difficult for the Mixers, but all those didn’t happen. Instead, Chan, after receiving the pass from Lee, jab-stepped to his left then popped the trey over the outstretched arms of Pingris, who is one of Asia’s best on-ball defenders. Chan’s shot clanged off the iron and ended up in the hands of Mark Barroca. Game. Set. Match. Post-game, Chan actually felt they could’ve executed better in that final play, although he also admitted that perhaps their defense also gave guys like Devance too many chances to score. Whatever it was, look for the Painters to bounce back big time in Game 4.

Unsung Heroes: In such a close game at a critical juncture in the series, it’s easy to forget the guys who play under the radar and on the fringes of the spotlight, but to do that would be tantamount to sheer ignorance, so right now I want to commend guys like Ian Sangalang, Rafi Reavis, and Alex Mallari. Sangalang was a solid offensive option inside for SMC, drilling in all but one of his field goals to finish with 12 points and 5 rebounds in just 19 minutes of play. Talk about efficiency! Reavis did well, too, cleaning the glass for a game-high 11 boards, helping his squad win the rebound battle, 49-39. Mallari’s contributions, on the other hand, might not be apparent from the sheet,  but he still made the most of his 22 minutes, providing great defense on ROS’s backcourt and even helping inside with 4 caroms.

Game Recap:


The San Mig Super Coffee Mixers survived a tense 77-76 victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in Game Three of the PLDT Home DSL Philippine Cup finals on Wednesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

“What an awesome game,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone. “It was a back and forth game.”

The Mixers took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven finals series, but not before watching a final attempt from Jeff Chan clang off the ring to escape with the win.

The matchup between the two best basketball clubs in the land felt like a heavyweight prizefight, with neither squad opening a double-digit lead throughout the game.

Rain or Shine threated to break away in the first half, but San Mig Coffee ended the second period on an 8-0 run to cut the Elasto Painters’ lead to a single point, 39-38.

“The two three-point shots we made before the half was really key,” said Cone.

The Elasto Painters tried to put some distance again between them and the Mixers in the third quarter. But San Mig Coffee superstar James Yap, playing limited minutes because of foul trouble, scored 11 of his 13 points in the period to keep his squad in the game as Rain or Shine took a measly 64-63 lead heading into the final period.

“They came out in the second half, they were like a house on fire,” said Cone. “James gave us enough of an edge, keeping us in there, gave us a chance to let guys come in and fill the void.”

It was still a nip-and-tuck affair with Rain or Shine up by one, 74-73, on a jumper by Larry Rodriguez with less than four minutes remaining.

Birthday boy Joe Devance then scored on back-to-back layups, both off assists from Marc Pingris, to push San Mig Coffee ahead, 77-74.

Jervy Cruz cut the San Mig Coffee lead to a single point after a basket with 1:19 remaining. After scoreless trips for both teams, Rain or Shine forced an airball on Yap’s desperation three-point attempt with 10.6 seconds left to get one final shot to win the game.

But Chan’s shot over the outstretched arms of Pingris was short, allowing the Mixers to come away with the victory.

Peter June Simon led San Mig Coffee with 14 points, while Devance continued his fine performance in the series, finishing with 13 points, nine rebounds, and four assists.

Despite the victory, Cone warned that tired legs may finally be taking their toll on the Mixers, who had to go through a grueling Manila Clasico series against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the semifinals.

“Guys showed a little fatigue tonight,” said Cone. “Gotta try to find our second wind.”

SMC 77 – Simon 14, Devance 13, Yap 13, Sangalang 12, Barroca 8, Pingris 7, Mallari 5, Reavis 4, Melton 1, De Ocampo 0.
ROS 76 – Lee 23, Chan 11, Cruz 10, Almazan 7, Belga 6, Rodriguez 6, Quinahan 5, Norwood 4, Tiu 2, Ibanes 2, Tang 0, Teng 0.
QS: 19-20, 38-39, 63-64, 77-76

Mara Aquino hosts the "interesting" Moneyball halftime game.

Paul Lee's 23 points were all in vain as ROS lost Game 3.

PJ Simon unfurls a jumper over two Painters.

Game recap is by Rey Joble/Sports5.

Images are by Paolo Papa and Paul Ryan Tan of Sports 5.

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