Humbled the last time out, 87-95, the Beermen played with a tremendous resolve from the get-go and fashioned out a dominant win to establish a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. PBA Images

Beermen send Gin Kings to the brink, go 3-1 Road Warriors
Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - March 16, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Beer took to heart its Game Three defeat Friday night and came back hard against Barangay Ginebra, displaying a one-side show of superiority on both ends for an emphatic 102-81 triumph that sent the Beermen to the threshold of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the MOA Arena.

Humbled the last time out, 87-95, the Beermen played with a tremendous resolve from the get-go and fashioned out a dominant win to establish a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

“Credit to my players. They knew the importance of the game and they played with their best to get the win. It’s a good gift for me,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria, getting a wonderful present a day after turning a year older.

With the win, the Beermen gained three cracks at clinching a shot at a fourth straight crown in the league’s premier conference.

They can wrap up the series in Game Five tomorrow over at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Meanwhile, Magnolia, living up to its status as the higher-ranked team in the last two games, hopes to sustain a high-level aggressive game as it also guns for a pivotal 3-1 lead versus NLEX in their semis matchup at the MOA Arena tonight.

Coach Chito Victolero has hinted at the return of Justin Melton, and he could be a crucial added energy source as the Hotshots try to push the Road Warriors to the wall in their 7 p.m. setto.

A remarkable 51-percent shooting had the Beermen tightening the noose on the Kings.

Marcio Lassiter knocked in five three-pointers and a total of 23 points, leading six Beermen who scored in double figures in an explosive performance torching the Kings despite a 31-point game from Japeth Aguilar and a 20-point job from LA Tenorio.

The Beermen even enjoyed above 60-percent shooting through the second period, allowing them to lead by as many as 29.

The Kings actually seized the early initiative before the Beermen eventually hit their stride and took the opening quarter

Notes: Former Toyota teammates Robert Jaworski and Mon Fernandez, easily the two greatest PBA personalities of all time, reunited for the first time in a long while as spectators of Game Four of the SMB-Ginebra semis. Jaworski, the original Ginebra heart and soul, came in to throw support to his former team while Fernandez, a former SMB ace and now a Philippine sports commissioner, showed up upon the invitation of league commissioner Willie Marcial. As the game barker acknowledged their presence to cheers from the crowd, Fernandez walked over to Jaworski, and the two had a brief chat and locked themselves in a friendly hug.

The scores:

San Miguel 102 – Lassiter 23, Cabagnot 19, Santos 16, Fajardo 14, Ganuelas-Rosser 12, Ross 11, Espinas 4, Pessumal 3, Lanete 0, De Ocampo 0, Heruela 0, Agovida 0, Vigil 0, Mamaril 0.

Barangay Ginebra 81 – J. Aguilar 31, Tenorio 20, Cruz 9, Mercado 5, Caguioa 3, Caperal 3, Ferrer 3, Mariano 2, Manuel 2, Devance 2, Thompson 1, R. Aguilar 0.

Quarterscores: 32-22, 58-41, 84-58, 102-81

BASKETBALL GINEBRA GIN KINGS PBA PBA PHILIPPINE CUP SAN MIGUEL BEERMEN
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