2014 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals: Mixers halt TNT’s streak and take Game 1!

That combo of James Yap and PJ Simon was wickedly effective for coach Tim Cone again. Yap and Simon both started at the guard spots for San Mig Super Coffee, combining to score 33 points to lead the Mixers in their Game 1 win, 95-80. Though the pair didn’t hit any threes, they did make a combined 15 of their 23 two-point attempts for a blistering 65% success rate. No matter what the top-seeded Texters did, they just couldn’t contain these two, and, should they continue to wax hot, then the series might not get any better for TNT.

James Yap (above) led the Mixers' takedown of the
erstwhile unbeaten Texters (Jayson Castro shown in the lower image).

Richard Howell didn’t have a particularly excellent outing here, but neither did James Mays. Both imports canceled each other out, but the most noticeable drop in production came from Gilas Pilipinas players Ranidel De Ocampo, Larry Fonacier, and Jimmy Alapag. That triumvirate combined for just 13 points on 4/19 FG shooting. To compound things, they also combined for 9 of TNT’s 21 turnovers. Needless to say, that kind of performance just won’t cut it against the grand-slam-seeking Mixers.

Uncharacteristic: SMC coach Tim Cone remarked postgame that TNT didn’t play like the real TNT. He was right, of course, as the Texters, strangely enough, weren’t able to play as efficiently as they usually do. To illustrate, the Texters actually averaged just 13.8 turnovers per game in their first 13 assignments, but in this one they coughed the ball up 21 times. That resulted in 21 points-off-turnovers for the Mixers. Also, many of their turnovers were results of bad passes and ball-handling snafus. This is very uncharacteristic of the Texters, of course, and it would be beneficial for them to really cut down on these errors in Game 2.

Game recap by Rey Joble/InterAKTV:


The San Mig Super Coffee Mixers shattered any Talk ‘N Text dream of a perfect conference with an emphatic 95-80 victory on Friday in Game One of their PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup finals series.

By drawing first blood in the best-of-five series, the Mixers ended the Tropang Texters’ tournament-long 13-game winning streak.

San Mig Coffee, the winner of the last two PBA tournaments, did it with its trademark defense, jamming the lane on Talk ‘N Text penetration time and again while forcing the Tropang Texters to settle for contested drives and long jumpers.

Curiously, the Mixers displayed more energy despite coming off a tough five-game series against the Air 21 Express in the semifinals just last Wednesday. The Tropang Texters, on the other hand, were coming off a long rest after sweeping Rain or Shine in their final four series.

“A couple of things happened tonight. We carried over our momentum, that carried over and gave us a kind of mental lift,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone.

“They made some uncharacteristic turnovers, we know we didn’t see the real TNT tonight, but we’re just thankful we’re up 1-0 and found a way to beat this team.”

After a tight first half, the Mixers broke the game wide open in the third quarter, scoring off nifty passes in the halfcourt and easy baskets in transition to open up a 17-point bubble.

Despite taking out import James Mays toward the end of the third period, San Mig Coffee successfully nursed the double-digit lead heading into the final quarter.

Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black tried everything from going with a big lineup to springing a 2-3 zone defense, but the Tropang Texters could not make any headway against the Mixers.

James Yap, who led San Mig Coffee with 17 points, put the finishing touches on the game with a tough fadeaway three-point play against Kelly Williams that put the Mixers up, 86-67, with less than four minutes left.

Jayson Castro had 17 points for Talk ‘N Text, but the team’s other top guns Ranidel De Ocampo (5), Larry Fonacier (5), and Jimmy Alapag all failed to reach double-figures.

Closing down the paint, San Mig Coffee held Talk ‘N Text to better shooting from three-point distance (37.5 percent) than from two-point distance (35.6 percent). The Mixers also forced 21 turnovers, which they turned into 21 points.

Cone, however, warned against a backlash from the top seed Tropang Texters with Game Two set on Sunday at the Big Dome at 5 p.m.

“I don’t wanna lessen our effort, energy, and defense, but truly, they weren’t the same team tonight,” he said.

SMC 95 – Yap 17, Simon 16, Barroca 12, Sangalang 12, Mays 10, Pingris 10, Devance 7, Mallari 5, Reavis 4, Melton 2, De Ocampo 0, Gaco 0.
TNT 80 – Castro 17, Reyes 13, Williams 12, Howell 11, Canaleta 9, De Ocampo 5, Fonacier 5, Alapag 3, Seigle 2, Reyes Rob 1, Reyes Jai 1, Carey 1, Aban 0, Baclao 0.
QS: 17-17, 44-40, 70-57, 95-80

James Yap has given SMC a huge lift of late.

Jayson Castro and the Texters made some uncharacteristic mistakes in Game 1.

PJ Simon continues to be one of the main offensive
weapons of SMC.

Ryan Reyes streaks to the hole for a rare easy two points.

All images by Paul Ryan Tan/Sports 5.

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