Mendoza: Coffee’s on me to San Mig win vs. Petron-A A +A
Saturday, October 26, 2013
TIM Cone out-coached Gee Abanilla. That was half of the story behind San Mig Coffee’s 87-77 victory over Petron Blaze on Friday.
No doubt, the sold-out crowd of 21,319 at the Cubao Big Dome in Quezon City believed the PBA Governors Cup crown rightfully belonged to the Coffee Mixers.
The only unbeliever would be Abanilla’s mother.
She would not see, refuse to see, that Cone’s starting unit of Marqus Blakely, Mark Barroca, Marc Pingris, James Yap and Joe Devance were immediately primed up to swallow Abanilla’s Elijah Millsap, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot, June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos.
Blakely went scoreless in the first quarter but San Mig Coffee was still able to forge a 19-all tie.
With Cone’s courage-laden rotation that saw him rest Barroca the sparkplug for quite some time after the first period, the Mixers still managed to hold leads of 41-39 at halftime and 65-61 in the third.
When Cone dispatched Barroca in mid-fourth quarter, the Zambo kid, because he was so fresh and oozing with firepower again, orchestrated San Mig’s offensive in near-flawless fashion.
In contrast, Abanilla’s improperly handled Boosters succumbed to laughable lapses because of exhaustion.
Lassiter and Fajardo could barely move in the endgame, accounting for Fajardo’s successive free-throw misses when points became as precious as gold. Lassiter would lose his cool—and focus.
Other deadly details drowned out in the din of championship chortle:
Was Millsap, the wrecking workhorse, too tired as to misfire shots, lose his footing and issue a weak pass to Lassiter for an easy interception by Blakely who made it 80-75 at 1:47?
And then Millsap would next miss a shot, fumble with San Mig up 82-77 with 1:02 left and, omigosh, would completely flub an open three that he would normally nail while Petron trailed 83-77 at the 33.1 mark.
And then this: Millsap would get blocked, clearing Barroca’s two charities 85-77, before the Petron import trekked to the showers on six fouls for Pingris’s game-ending free throws 87-77 with 14.1 ticks left.
Alas, to all that, only Abanilla’s mother wouldn’t see.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 27, 2013.