MANILA, Philippines – San Mig Coffee, struggling minus injured key players, needed to dig deep to finally nail a first win in the PLDT MyDSL PBA Philippine Cup, outlasting Air21, 92-83, in a stretch-out double-overtime faceoff at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City Sunday.
With Asi Taulava and Vic Manuel already out on fouls, the Mixers pounced on the Express at the paint in second overtime and eventually pulled through after dropping all their first three games in the tourney.
“We don’t care whether it’s an ugly win or a beautiful win, we just need to come out with a win,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone relieved they have gotten over the hump.
“We’ll take any win and we’ll try to keep ourselves going,” Cone also said.
Rookie Ian Sangalang scored eight of his 14 points when there’s no more Taulava to guard him and Mark Barroca attacked the lane bravely when the Fil-Tongan behemoth was no longer there as Air21’s last line of defense.
Severely punished by Sangalang and Barroca in the second OT, the Express went down with a fourth loss in as many outings.
The Express, with trade acquisition Mac Cardona finally in harness, took the early initiative, set the pace most of the way and had a chance to win the game in regulation while holding possession in the last five seconds.
In a timeout, Taulava requested coach Franz Pumaren for a play where he would seal his defender underneath the basket for the last shot. The Express, however, failed to execute the play, and the game went into OT at 69-all.
Air21 forced the second extra period as KG Canaleta made three pressure-packed charities with three-tenths of a second left. The slam-dunking forward went to the stripe for the game-tying freebies as he drew a foul from Rafi Reavis while taking a three-pointer.
The second OT had just started when Taulava was called for his sixth and last foul on Marc Pingris.
Worn-out and sans Taulava, Air21 faded away and was left as the only team without a single win in the tourney.
The Mixers scored all the first eight points in the second extension period – all inside the paint.
PJ Simon played his first game in the season but James Yap took his turn to ride the bench with an injury (hyper-extended elbow).
Barroca, Pingris, Sangalang, Reavis, Simon and Alex Mallari all delivered double-digit outputs for the Mixers.
Joseph Yeo and Canaleta paced the Air21 scorers with 21 and 20 points, respectively.
San Mig Coffee 92 - Barroca 19, Pingris 15, Reavis 15, Sangalang 14, Mallari 12, Simon 11, Acuna 3, Cawaling 3, De Ocampo 0, Gaco 0, Holstein 0.
Air21 83 - Yeo 21, Canaleta 20, Manuel 14, Cardona 13, Camson 6, Jaime 5, Taulava 4, Espiritu 0, Arboleda 0, Sharma 0, Custodio 0, Atkins 0.
Quarterscores: 11-20, 30-35, 47-50, 69-69, 79-79, 92-83