PJ Simon of San Mig Coffee (dark) drives against RJ Jazul of Alaska (light). PBA Image by Nuki Sabio
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – San Mig Coffee smothered Alaska in their series-decider, 79-65, to oust the defending champion and arrange a semifinal duel with Air21 in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
PJ Simon paced the Coffee Mixers with 21 points, doing much damage in the third quarter for San Mig Coffee’s 53-35 lead.
Mark Barroca and Marc Pingris were the two other locals who were able to dish out double figures for the Mixers. The "Coffee Prince" scored 14, while Pingris added 10.
James Mays had 17 points and grabbed 24 rebounds against Alaska, which just could not solve San Mig Coffee’s defense.
San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone is glad to barge to the final four, citing that Alaska has put up a strong fight.
"To be absolutely honest, I thought Alaska’s playing too high a level. I feel very fortunate to beat them two in a row," said Cone in the PBA website. "They’ve got so much playoff experience that they don’t panic, they don’t have deep anxiety. They’re comfortable playing the game," said Cone.
Rob Dozier paced the Aces with 23 points and 16 rebounds.
San Mig Coffee will meet Air21 in a best-of-five semis showdown starting Tuesday.
The Express pulled off an upset in their quarterfinals duel against the fancied San Miguel Beermen on Friday to reach the semifinals.
"In beating San Miguel Beer, coach Franz Pumaren said they slew a dragon. I’m sure they will also look at us as a dragon. Hopefully, we’ll be ready with their irons, swords or whatever," said Cone.
San Mig Coffee 79 - Simon 21, Mays 17, Barroca 14, Pingris 10, Sangalang 6, Devance 5, Mallari 4, Melton 2, Reavis 0, Yap 0.
Alaska 65 - Dozier 23, Casio 14, Jazul 8, Hontiveros 7, Espinas 5, Baguio 4, Thoss 2, Manuel 2, Reyes 0, Dela Cruz 0, Abueva 0.
Quarterscores: 21-15, 35-27, 57-45, 79-65