2014 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Semifinals: Mixers lead 2-1 after winning in Game 3!

James Mays, with dominant performances on both ends of the floor, has really left a stamp on this series. In this particular game, Mays dominated on the glass with 32 rebounds, which was actually more than the entire rebounding total of the Express. More impressively, Mays collared 19 boards off the offensive glass. It was clear that the absence of combo forward Sean Anthony was critical, as he could have helped Air 21 in the battle of the boards. Mays also recorded 15 points, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block in the 84-73 win, which put the Mixers within a victory of their third straight Finals appearance.

Mark Barroca splits the Air 21 D (top), while
Sean Anthony can only look on as his team falls in Game 3 (bottom).

As has already been mentioned, Sean Anthony, who has been tearing opponents to shreds with his versatile skill-set, was not able to dress for this game because of an inflamed Achilles heel. That was clearly a terrible development, especially since Anthony has been putting up the following numbers this conference: 17.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals, 1.3 triples, .529 3pt%, and .481 FG%. His overall efficiency rating this conference is 37.0, which is the highest of his career AND, get this, the highest of any local player this conference. Yes — higher than June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Jayson Castro, or Ranidel De Ocampo. Needless to say, his absence left a huge void that Mike Burtscher, even at his very best, could hardly fill.

Twin terrors: Just when Air 21 seemed to threaten in the second half, coach Tim Cone put in his two speedy sparks off the bench — Mark Barroca and Justin Melton. Those two guys enabled the Mixers to counter Air 21 coach Franz Pumaren’s suffocating zone defense with some speed and shooting. Barroca hit two treys on his way to a conference-high 17 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal. Melton, for his part, contributed 6 markers and 2 steals in 19 minutes of action.

Game recap by Rey Joble/InterAKTV:


The San Mig Super Coffee Mixers moved one step away from a third straight PBA finals appearance after defeating the Air 21 Express, 84-73, in Game Three of their PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series on Saturday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The Mixers, who took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five affair, can wrap up the series in Monday’s Game Four. The unbeaten Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters are already in the finals after sweeping the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the other semis bracket.

Led by import James Mays, San Mig Coffee dominated the interior against an Air 21 team missing star forward Sean Anthony. Mays outrebounded the whole Air 21 team, 32-26.

That allowed San Mig Coffee to win despite shooting below 40 percent to the field, as Mays create multiple shot opportunities with 19 offensive rebounds.

The Mixers opened up big leads in the first half, but the Express battled back in the third period, with the team moving within striking distance after coach Franz Pumaren sprung a zone defense.

“It was a struggle. Coach Franz did a good job getting us confused,” said San Mig Coffee coach Cone.

Cone countered by fielding in a three-guard lineup of Peter June Simon, Mark Barroca, and Justin Melton. That sparked the Mixers offense as they pushed the advantage back up to 13 points, 78-65, midway through the final period on a fastbreak layup from Melton.

“Mark and Justin played really well together,” said Cone. “They really changed the game defensively, their hustle, their speed.”

Simon led the Mixers with 18 points and four assists, while Barroca had 17 points and seven rebounds.

Asi Taulava led the Express with 21 points and eight rebounds, while Witherspoon had 19 points, six rebounds, five assists, and four steals for the Express.

SMC 84 – Simon 18, Barroca 17, Mays 15, Devance 9, Pingris 7, Melton 6, Yap 6, Reavis 4, Sangalang 2, De Ocampo 0, Gaco 0, Mallari 0.
AIR 73 – Taulava 21, Witherspoon 19, Ramos 10, Yeo 6, Burtscher 5, Cardona 4, Borboran 3, Poligrates 3, Villanueva 2, Jaime 0, Menor 0, Atkins 0.
QS: 24-15, 49-40, 64-59, 84-73

The Express will have to regroup and produce a minor miracle if they plan
to force a Game 5 in the semifinals.

Marc Pingris unfurls a semi-hook over Aldrech Ramos.

Mark Barroca came up big with a conference-high 17 points.

Sean Anthony was sidelined by an inflamed Achilles heel.

Images by Pranz Kaeno Billones/Sports 5

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