MANILA, Philippines - The amazing San Mig Coffee Mixers gun for a 3-1 lead against the souped-up Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings side in Game Four of their best-of-seven semifinal duel in the PLDT MyDSL PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum tonight.
The Mixers, admittedly the underdog in the hotly contested series, have appeared to be in control and maintained the iniative in a series that has turned out to be a battle of wits off the bench.
The multi-titled Tim Cone is clearly winning his duel with Ginebra counterpart Ato Agustin, enabling the Mixers to seize a 2-1 edge with a chance to move in the threshold of the finals.
Winning Game One and Game Three on Cone’s brilliant handling of his supposedly less superior crew, the Mixers set out for another win at 8 tonight, going for the big edge in their side of the semis playoffs.
Agustin was the first to admit coaching lapses on his first part were largely the cause of their Game Three defeat.
He played Greg Slaughter with extended minutes, and the 7-foot-1 giant ran out of gas in the crunch, putting his career-best 29-point performance to naught with their 89-97 loss.
Agustin used only two other big men in Japeth Aguilar and Billy Mamaril in Game Three, and Cone deftly countered this by playing a small but quick combination in the payoff period.
And as in Game One, the Mixers didn’t need top gun James Yap at crunchtime, instead banking on Mark Barroca and Justin Melton to cut Slaughter, Aguilar and the rest of the Ginebra Kings down to size.
Will Agustin be able to make the right adjustments as he did in Ginebra’s vengeful 93-64 triumph in Game Two?
“I will take note of our mistakes. We definitely can’t afford to go 1-3 down in this series,” said Agustin. “I wasn’t able to use Jayr (Reyes) because Billy (Mamaril) was playing well.”
Reyes averages 4.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in an average playing time of a little over 15 minutes per game.
NOTES: Fiery Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao has accumulated fines not less than P100,000 for technical fouls incurred this conference. But there’s no stopping Guiao from hitting the officiating, if he feels he needs to. “We did not beat Petron, we beat the refs,” said Guiao, moments after Game Four where he was tossed out for technical infractions for the second straight game…..Guiao mentioned the non-call on Alex Cabagnot’s blow on Jervy Cruz’s face late in the game. “Jervy has a broken nose and will wear mask on Friday,” Guiao said…..Paul Lee’s status is day-to-day because of an ankle sprain.