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Philippine Basketball Association

Beermen nip Aces in Game 5 to stay alive

August 15, 2010 9:53pm

Heart of a champion? The San Miguel Beermen certainly have tons of it.

Their season – and title – on the line, the Beermen dug deeper into their star-studded bench and got enough help in pulling off a gripping 96-94 win over Alaska Sunday night to stay alive in the PBA Fiesta Cup Finals at the Araneta Coliseum.

Denok Miranda started and finished at point guard spot for the Beermen to score 12 points and Mick Pennisi came off the bench and contributed nine in the win that cut the best-of-seven series deficit to 3-2 and paved the way for Game 6 on Wednesday.

Despite the help provided by their bench, the Beermen still had to go through the wringer and watched Cyrus Baguio’s potential game-winning three-pointer fell short at the buzzer to live for another day.

The Beermen tried to catch Alaska by surprise by deciding to have Gee Abanilla call the shots for the team in Game 5.

The San Miguel assistant mentor said he was told of the ploy shortly after Alaska won Game 4, 90-83.

“I really like the intensity we showed tonight," said Abanilla. “We came out hustling, we were aggressive and somehow dictated the tempo. This series is about tempo. Alaska was successful dictating their tempo. We want a fast-paced one."

While the scheme initially worked out that saw San Miguel led by as many as 50-39, Alaska still proved to be a tough nut to crack.

“We took their best punch and we recovered," said Alaska coach Tim Cone. “Our team is a confident bunch right now. We’ve grown from these playoffs. We believe we can finish it off on Wednesday."

The Aces came close to finishing it off Sunday night by rallying back in the second half. They held the Beermen without a basket in the final 2:17 of play, shortly after Miranda nailed the defending champion’s final points that gave them a 96-90 lead.

But Baguio answered back with a clutch three-point shot 14 seconds later and Diamon Simpson had a split from the foul line to make it 96-94.

San Miguel blew several opportunities to pull away, the last of which came on an Arwind Santos three-point shot that was way too far, with Simpson collaring the rebound and opening the door for Alaska’s last-second shot at a winning basket.

Jay Washington led all San Miguel scorers with 19 points, bouncing back from a five-point effort in Game 4, while Gabe Freeman scored 18 points and pulled down 14 rebounds in the win that gave the Beermen the needed hope of duplicating Ginebra’s 1991 feat as the only team ever to come back from a 1-3 deficit and win a title.

Simpson was again a tower on both ends of the floor for Alaska, collecting 29 points and snaring 18 rebounds. Joe Devance finished with 15 points and nine rebounds while Baguio had 14. - RCJ, GMANews.TV
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