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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, March 16, 2018
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San Miguel Beer
zeroes in on PBA Finals


San Miguel Beer came back with a vicious game from a stinging Game Three loss and blasted Barangay Ginebra, 102-81, to move into the brink of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the MOA Arena in Pasay City last night.

The Beermen dished out a proud performance in a match getting together PBA icons Robert Jaworski and Mon Fernandez in an accidental reunion.

Jaworski, the original Ginebra heart and soul, came in to throw support to his former team while Fernandez, a former San Miguel Beer star 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.

But the night, in the end, belonged to the determined SMB crew that foiled Ginebra's bid to tie the series.

Humbled the last time out, 87-95, the Beermen came back hard at the Kings and established a pivotal 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

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 on Saturday over at the Cuneta Astrodome.

"This is a beautiful gift, ," said SMB coach Leo Austria, getting a sweet present a day after turning a year older.

"Energy was the biggest factor. We were able to negate whatever they wanted because of the energy. And we're able to run our game plan by getting some of their big men into foul trouble," Austria added.

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.

June Mar Fajardo came through with 14 points and 13 rebounds in another double-double game while Matt Ganuelas-Rosser had his rare double-double job with 12 markers and 10 assists.

Alex Cabagnot made three treys and finished with 19 points, eight assists and five steals, Arwind Santos collected 16 markers and nine boards while Chris Ross played through a thigh injury and added 11 points, two boards and two assists.

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 great strides and took the opening quarter at 32-22. It's SMB's biggest output in a quarter in the series.

And there's simply no slowing down the determined SMB team.

The Kings hardly got into the game as they just had no answer on the Beermen's torrid shooting.*pba.com


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