San Mig Coffee's James Yap drives to the hoop against Rain or Shine's Jireh Ibanez in Game 3 of their best-of-7 finals. San Mig won the game, 77-76. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNNews.com
MANILA, Philippines -- San Mig Coffee won its second-straight game in the PBA Philippine Cup finals on Wednesday to take a 2-1 series lead against Rain or Shine in their best-of-7 title series.
Despite nursing a sore ankle, Joe Devance scored San Mig's last four points to lead the Mixers to a 77-76 victory over the Elasto Painters in Game 3 .
The 32-year-old power forward finished with 13 points and 9 rebounds.
San Mig built a quick 11-7 lead in the opening quarter, but Rain or Shine fought back and seized a slim 20-19 advantage by the end of the period.
The E-Painters extended their lead to 6 when Larry Rodriguez scored on a reverse layup. But Devance's 3-point play and Alex Mallari's trey brought the Mixers within 38-39 by the end of the first half.
After staring at another 6-point lead by Rain or Shine, Mark Barroca and Yap sliced the deficit back to one, 63-64.
It was neck-and-neck in the payoff period, but San Mig Coffee managed to break away with over 2 minutes to play when Devance came up with two consecutive shots.
Jeffrei Chan had a chance to steal the game from the Mixers but his attempt from 3-point country went short.
PJ Simon topscored for the Mixers with 14 points, while James Yap had 13 points. Ian Sangalang also had a big game for San Mig, churning out 12 points to go with his 5 rebounds.
The win came at the heels of San Mig's 80-70 win against Rain or Shine in Game 2.
The Mixers engaged the E-Painters in a low-scoring game, the lowest since the 2008 Fiesta Conference Finals when Air21 defeated Barangay Ginebra, 76-73, according to PBA statistician Fidel Mangonon.
Paul Lee paced the E-Painters with 23 points, while Chan added 11.
Guiao admitted that Game 3 was a must win for them as he considers San Mig a dangerous and experienced team.
“They’re too experienced to let them have the lead and for them to be taking the initiative. Game 3 is really big for us. We have to find the proper adjustments and execute better in Game 3,” said Guiao in the PBA website.
Rain or Shine also missed the services of Ryan Araña, who hurt his left collarbone in a collision with Rafi Reavis in Game 2.
San Mig Coffee 77 – Simon 14, Devance 13, Yap 13, Sangalang 12, Barroca 8, Pingris 7, Mallari 5, Reavis 4, Melton 1, De Ocampo 0.
Rain or Shine 76 – Lee 23, Chan 11, Cruz 10, Almazan 7, Belga 6, Rodriguez 6, Quinahan 5, Norwood 4, Tiu 2, Ibanes 2, Tang 0, Teng 0.
Quarterscores: 19-20, 38-39, 63-64, 77-76