San Miguel Beer avenged its Game 2 loss as the Beermen anchored on late fireback against Ginebra, 99-88, to take the PBA Philippine Cup 2017 Finals Game 3 on Wednesday, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
A well-poised Ginebra side opened Game 3 with the odds on their end and piled a premature double-digit bubble, which led San Miguel to be threatened of what could have been another dreading loss.
Powered by pint-sized star GinKing LA Tenorio, Ginebra enjoyed an early stretch over San Miguel to cap off the first half, thereby setting the momentum to clinch the second win.
Yet things got shaky as the Beermen approached the third canto and relied on the unending will-power of reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot, and Chris Ross.
Much to the GinKings’ surprise, it seemed like the Beermen embarked on total redemption to get back what they lost on Game 2.
Chris Ross, who was ejected during the final minute of Game 2 Overtime, made up for that ill-fated outcome and triggered the comeback Coach Leo Austria’s wards have badly needed.
Ross scattered off-the-hook baskets, one of which was a triple that sent off Cone’s Kings hanging on for dear life during the final ticks of the Game 3 clock.
It also did not help Ginebra that Fajardo, who was also previously fouled out in the Quezon Province battle, redeemed himself and became “The Kraken” every Beermen-faithful has been expecting of as he took control of the shaded lane and held stance underneath for Ross, Cabagnot, and Lassiter to send baskets from the perimeter.
Cabagnot also regained his form and added three triples behind Ross’ stellar offense to pin down Ginebra to as much as 12 points heading to the finishing kick.
In addition, Lassiter’s additional two triples only made it worse for the GinKings.
Barangay’s Joe DeVance braced to recoup Ginebra when he knocked down a triple which redeemed a point-lead over San Miguel at 88-87, but this was not enough as Fajardro foiled it and never let the Kings score again.
Ross paced San Miguel with 24 markers, followed by Cabagnot with 20 hits, and the all-around 17-point effort of “The Kraken” himself June Mar Fajardo.
Lassiter, who received a second-technical violation on Game 2 which sent him off the court, finished with 16 baskets.
Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra slid to its second loss despite LA Tenorio’s 16 points and Kevin Ferrer’s 15 markers.
The fight for the PBA Philippine Cup 2017 championship continues in Game 4 on Friday, still at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
SAN MIGUEL BEER (99) – Ross 24, Cabagnot 20, Fajardo 17, Lassiter 16, Santos 9, Tubid 6, Reyes 3, Heruela 2, Espinas 2, Garcia 0
BARANGAY GINEBRA (88) – Tenorio 16, Ferrer 15, Aguilar 12, Ellis 12, Caguioa 11, Thompson 8, Devance 6, Mercado 5, Marcelo 3, Helterbrand 0, Taha 0
Quarterscores: 19-24, 44-49, 69-66, 99-88