#PBA2015 Philippine Cup Playoffs Roundup: December 26-27, 2014

The San Miguel Beermen completed their dominant sweep of the Talk N Text Tropang Texters in their 2014-2015 Philippine Cup semis series, while the Alaska Aces rebounded in Game 5 to seize a 3-2 advantage in their own semis clash with the Rain or Shine Elasto-Painters!

Both June Mar and Calvin came up big in leading their respective teams to wins these past few days.

Game Recaps (adapted from Rey Joble/InterAKTV):

Box Scores.
The No. 1-ranked San Miguel Beermen cruised to a four-game sweep of rival Talk ‘N Text after a 13-point victory, 100-87, in Game Four of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena. Though Talk ‘N Text was much more competitive in the last two games following a Game One blowout, it could not do much to derail San Miguel’s march into the championship round. The heated series, which saw its share of physical play and off-court jawing, even from team officials, ended in surprisingly one-sided fashion as the Beermen finished things off in four games.

June Mar Fajardo put in another dominant performance, scoring 28 points, grabbing 16 rebounds, and dishing out 5 assists in the series clincher. San Miguel returnee Alex Cabagnot scored 16 points on an efficient 5-for-7 shooting clip. He shot 2-for-3 from beyond the arc and 4-for-5 from the free throw line. Chris Lutz also played a big role with 15 points as well as Arwind Santos, who had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The Beermen led practically wire-to-wire in Game Four despite giving up 28 turnovers, which led to 34 points-off-turnovers for TNT. The Beermen, however, utilized their speed, scoring 20 fastbreak points to just 8 for the Texters. Coach Leo Austria’s wards were also the more efficient offensive crew, making nearly 60% of their field goal attempts, while relegating TNT to just 38% FG shooting. 

The Texters, winners of the Philippine Cup from 2011-2013, once again failed to enter the conference finals. They were paced by Jimmy Alapag’s 17 points, while Larry Fonacier and Danny Seigle each added a dozen markers. Gilas stalwars Jayson Castro and Ranidel De Ocampo were shackled in this one, combining for just 7/23 FG shooting.

Line of the Game: June Mar Fajardo - 28pts, 16rebs, 5asts, 2blks, 12/17 FGs.

Chris Lutz pulls up for an uncontested jumper.

June Mar was fiercely dominant once again for the Beermen.

Larry Fonacier tries a runner in traffic for TNT.

Box Scores.
The Alaska Aces once again found themselves down by 19 points in the first half against Rain or Shine, but they proved their ability to come back from big deficits anew, storming back to win Game Five, 93-88, and take a 3-2 lead in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Much like in the early games of the series, the Elasto Painters built a huge lead early, but the Aces charged back to take control of the game. Rain or Shine led, 37-18, in the second quarter, but they could not hold on amidst a 17-0 run from Alaska. The Aces then got some big shots from scoring leaders Cyrus Baguio and Calvin Abueva – as well as play some stingy defense – in the fourth quarter as they defended their lead late in the game.

Abueva led the way for Alaska with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Baguio added 16 markers of his own. Three other Aces – Sonny Thoss, Vic Manuel and Dondon Hontiveros – also finished in double figures in scoring. Thoss and Manuel each tallied 13 points, while Hontiveros tossed in 11 markers on the strength of three treys.

With the victory, Alaska moved within one win of entering the title series opposite San Miguel. They will have to wait over a week to get a shot at the finals berth, though, as the series takes an eight-day break before Game Six on January 4.

Alaska force ROS to commit fewer turnovers, but, strangely enough, the Aces outscored the Painters, 20-8, in points-off-TOs. Coach Alex Compton’s posse also outplayed ROS in the paint, scoring more inside and second-chance points. 

The Painters drew 16 points and 9 boards from sophomore big man Raymond Almazan, while Paul Lee backstopped him with 14 markers, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. 

Line of the Game: Calvin Abueva - 16pts, 11rebs, 2asts, 1stl, 1blk.

Alex Compton enters his first PBA Finals as a head coach.

Calvin Abueva was in beastly form anew for the Aces.

Vic Manuel protects the ball from Raymond Almazan.

Images by Pranz Kaeno Billones/Sports5.

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