PBA Finals: San Miguel overwhelms Ginebra by 25 points, levels series 1-1

MANILA, Philippines – Despite losing Arwind Santos and Chris Ross due to ejections, the San Miguel Beermen showed their championship experience as they gave Ginebra a serious beating, 134-109 in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals on Sunday, July 29 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

San Miguel overwhelms Ginebra by 25 points, levels series 1-1
From zero to hero. After a subpar performance in game 1, Alex Cabagnot exploded for 33 points to tie the series 1-1 against Ginebra | Photo Credit: Inquirer.net

In contrast to their previous meetup, the San Miguel Beermen tried to avoid a 2-game deficit by ramping up their offense as soon as the game clock ticked in.

Alex Cabagnot showed a very poor performance in game 1 but the “Crunch Man” came in game 2 well-prepared, aggressive and was almost flawless in hitting the basket to help his team get the head start against the feisty Ginebra.

The battle of the imports continued. Justin Brownlee dropped 41 big points previously and the Ginebra reinforcement eyed to replicate it but his pal and now rival, Renaldo Balkman knew that he has to stop Brownlee at all cost to prevent another heartbreaking loss.

Aside from Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter who also played subpar last Friday, contributed significant digits in this game to end the opener with a 34-23 lead.

Ginebra retaliated in the 2nd quarter led by the 7-foot Greg Slaughter and shifty guard Scottie Thompson but June Mar Fajardo and his fellow big man, Christian Standhardinger counter-attacked to increase their lead to 20.

It looked like Coach Leo Austria had figured out on how to beat the Gins: Contain Justin Brownlee. Compared to his game 1 monster numbers, Brownlee only had 11 points after 10 minutes of playing time in the 1st half.

Cabagnot was virtually unstoppable in all angles of the floor. Not even the outstretched arms of Brownlee can prevent him from scoring from the three-point territory that resulted to a 75-46 humongous advantage after 2 full periods.

Still a good start for SMB in the 3rd quarter not until the officials slapped Renaldo Balkman with a flagrant foul 1 for accidentally elbowing Joe Devance in the chin. Balkman was forced to sit out for 3 minutes as the consequence for his violation.

Renaldo Balkman’s mandatory rest paved way for Justin Brownlee to seize the moment and drained a back-to-back three pointers.

Coach Austria didn’t waste any time in re-inserting Balkman as soon as he finished his penalty to fend off Ginebra’s scoring barrage. Without the NBA veteran on the floor, the Gin Kings were able to slash 10-points from San Miguel’s 30-point lead.

Barangay Ginebra increased its chances to post another win on San Miguel as they outscored the Beermen after the 3rd quarter. SMB however still possessed the lead, 99-79.

Even though San Miguel led Ginebra in the entire game, its fans began to get anxious as Renaldo Balkman obtained his 5th personal foul at the start of the final period.

Despite Balkman’s absence on the court due to foul trouble, the SMB locals were able to maintain their lead and react to every Ginebra point. 4 San Miguel locals had recorded 20 points at least with over 5 minutes left in the ballgame.

At the 5:18 mark, the referees threw Arwind Santos out of the game for intentionally hitting Scottie Thompson in the mid section followed by 2 consecutive technical fouls on Chris Ross for taunting in different occasions.

Ginebra had the chance to comeback in the fourth but it faded abruptly as Justin Brownlee consumed his 6th personal foul and left the floor with 29 points.

Coach Tim cone waved the white flag with 2 minutes left as he pulled out his star players. Likewise, Coach Leo Austria sent his reserves in and officially levelled the series to 1-` with a 134-109 victory over Barangay Ginebra.

The Scores:

San Miguel (134): Cabagnot 33, Fajardo 25, Lassiter 20, Balkman 20, Standhardinger 20, Santos 14, Mamaril 2, Ross 0, Lanete 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Pessumal 0, Vigil 0

Ginebra (109): Brownlee 29, Devance 16, Thompson 16, Slaughter 15, Tenorio 13, Mercado 11, Chan 4, R. Aguilar 2, Manuel 2, J. Aguilar 1, Ferrer 0, Caguioa 0, Cruz 0, Caperal 0, Mariano 0, Jamito 0

Quarter scores: 34-23, 75-46, 99-79, 134-109

Game 3 will be on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 at 7 pm, still at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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