Marcio Lassiter (left) and June Mar Fajardo (right) of the San Miguel Beermen gang up on import Diamon Simpson of the Alaska Aces during the Game 4 of their PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinal series, Sunday night at the Big Dome.
PBA Media Bureau
Beermen dispose of Aces for Finals return
Denison Rey A. Dalupang ( - July 22, 2018 - 9:10pm

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Beer’s bid to repeat as conference champions remains intact.

The Beermen held off another gritty performance by the Alaska Aces, 104-99, in Game Four of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals to end their series.

Neck-and-neck in the first three quarters, San Miguel — known for its firepower — could barely pull away in the payoff period.

With the Aces coming off a massive upset in Game Three, the Beermen just kept on finding themselves within their foes’ striking range. 

Alaska’s best local in Vic Manuel managed to cut the lead to just five as the game entered the final minute, but the defending conference champions’ Alex Cabagnot channeled his clutch side and drained a step-back jumper from deep to widen the gap anew.

From that point on, the Beermen just added a couple of points to nurture the lead.

“First of all I would like to thank God for this good close-out sa series na ito. I know na since three years ago, Alaska is one of the toughest team in the league. it's very evident in our series, even though they're down 0-2, they're fighitng back. Tonight's game, you can never know what will happen. It was a 50-50 game,” San Miguel head coach Leo Austria said. 

“But what we learned in our last game when they beat us by 24 points, that's an embarrassment for us. The players' pride — nakiliti eh. They stepped up tonight. They're so focused in this game. I'm so happy kay Alex, 'yung kanyang pagiging clutch, andoon na naman,” he added.

San Miguel, which is now going to the PBA Finals for the 40th time, also survived a brilliant performance by Alaska’s Simon Encisio, who made 14 of his 19 points all in the final quarter.

But it is worth noting that Cabagnot’s shot typified an equally brilliant performance. The San Miguel guard had nine in the same period, as if matching his counterpart’s. He finished the game with 18 points. 

The Beermen now await the winner of the Barangay Ginebra-Rain or Shine clash, where the Gin Kings currently enjoy a 2-1 advantage. The series could end on Monday night.

The Scores: 

SAN MIGUEL 104: Fajardo 26, Balkman 23, Cabagnot 18, Ross 17, Lassiter 8, Nabong 6, Santos 4, Standhardinger 2, Heruela 0

ALASKA 99: Simpson 24, Manuel 20, Enciso 19, Casio 15, Teng 6, Racal 4, Exciminiano 4, Magat 3, Thoss 2, Baclao 2, Galliguez 0

Quarter scores: 20-23, 43-44, 76-69, 104-99

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