San Mig Coffee's PJ Simon goes for a jumper against Air21. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines -- San Mig Coffee crushed Air21 in their winner-take-all Game 5, 99-83, on Wednesday to put an end to the Express' Cinderella run in the PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals.
The victory sent the Mixers to their third straight finals appearance. This time, they will face early finalist Talk ‘N Text.
“Big Game” James Yap, who was almost a non-factor in their first 4 semifinal games against Air21, led the way for San Mig Coffee with 15 points and 5 rebounds.
Yap teamed up with PJ Simon in the opening quarter to help the Mixers outscore the Express, 21-13.
The lead went up by as much as 24 points midway the third canto, before Air21 managed to trim the lead down to 16 points in the fourth.
James Mays tallied 24 points for the Mixers, while Simon had 18.
Despite the loss, the Express completed its best finish since debuting in the PBA back in 2011 as the Shopinas.com Clickers.
Air21 surprised everyone by booting out the fancied San Miguel Beermen in the quarterfinal round.
The Express even managed to take the Mixers to the brink of elimination after forcing San Mig Coffee to a do-or-die game in the semifinals.
The Mixers will begin their title showdown with the Tropang Texters on Friday.
San Mig Coffee 99 - Mays 24, Simon 18, Yap 15, Barroca 11, Mallari 10, Devance 7, Pingris 7, Reavis 5, Melton 2, Gaco 0, Sangalang 0, Cawaling 0, Holstein 0.
Air21 83 - Witherspoon 21, Taulava 20, Cardona 13, Yeo 10, Borboran 7, Camson 6, Ramos 3, Villanueva 2, Atkins 1, Poligrates 0, Burtscher 0.
Quarterscores: 21-13, 50-33, 81-58, 99-83