It was a slug fest early on in Game five of the PBA Governor’s Cup Semifinals between the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers and the Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters. With their season on the line, both teams exchanged blows as the first half ended with TNT holding on to only a one-point lead. It seemed that the Tropang Texters would come away with this game after starting the 2nd half strong delivering basket after basket but the Mixers’ championship poise came in full display afterwards as they mounted a 23-7 run that lasted close to seven minutes to lead by seven after three quarters. Things started to look good early in the 4th as the Mixers jumped to an early double-digit advantage. However, the Mixers weren’t safe just yet as TNT’s import, Paul Harris, single-handedly willed them to within four points late in the game. Good thing for them was that they’ve built enough cushion and time ran out for the Tropang Texters to steal Game 5 from the Mixers.
Let’s now have a review of our keys to the game and see how the Mixers were able to reach the Finals once more.
Review of Keys to the Game
San Mig did a great job defending TNT in this game as they limited the Tropang Texters to only 39.5 percent from the field. Their perimeter defense was also solid limiting the best three-point shooting team in the league to only 28.9 percent from deep (11 of 38). The Mixers’ defense was on full display for most of the game as they limited the Tropang Texters below 90 points (20 or less points per quarter except the 4th, 32). TNT had to bleed for their points as only three players on their end were able to score 10 or more points. Leading them was Paul Harris with 40 and the two others that followed were only able to chip in 13 and 11 points courtesy of Ranidel De Ocampo and Jayson Castro respectively.
Again, it wasn’t one of those good free throw shooting games for the Mixers. Although they’ve managed to increase their trips at the charity strip, they weren’t able to take advantage of them only converting 16 of 31 shots (51.6 percent). Fortunately for the Mixers, the Tropang Texters also had an unusually tough time too at the foul line, maybe because of the crowd and the drums, only converting 8 of 19 shots (42.1 percent).
It was an all-around team effort for the Mixers in terms of rebounding in Game 5. Their rebounding advantage in this game was a huge factor in their win in this game. Looking at the numbers:
It was Marqus Blakely that led them in rebounding once more with 16. But he was able to get a lot of help this time around with all 9 players fielded by Coach Tim Cone grabbing at least a rebound in this game led by Joe Devance (11 rebounds) and Marc Pingris (10).
Story of the Game: Balanced Veteran Mix
With their Grand Slam on the line, Coach Tim Cone once more shortened his rotation and stuck with his old reliables. And with their experience in this kind of situations, the veterans of San Mig showed up and outplayed their TNT counterparts.
Leading them was “Big Game” James Yap who had another big game just like in Game 4, the only difference is that this time, they were able to go home with a W. He finished the game with 25 points (68.1 percent TS) on 5 of 9 three-point shooting. He was also able to grab 6 rebounds, dish out 3 assists, and added a steal as well.
Marc Pingris also had a solid game with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds and Mark Barroca (17 points) made crucial plays in the end game that sealed the game for the Mixers.
Another guy that’s also key to the Mixers’ win was Joe Devance. He tallied his first ever triple-double of his pro-career with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists.
And finally, Marqus Blakely was able to break-out of his scoring slump against the Tropang Texters and was back to being “Mr. Everything” for the Mixers. He finished with 21 points (72.7 percent eFG), 16 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 4 blocks to bring San Mig to the Finals once again.
Road to the Grand Slam
With this Game five win, the Mixers move to within 3 wins of completing a Grand Slam this season. And to complete this rare sweep of all the three titles in one season, a very familiar foe stands in their way, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. For sure, this will be an exciting series to watch as both teams have great imports together with a solid local cast plus two of the most brilliant coaches in the PBA today in Coach Tim Cone and Coach Yeng Guiao. Game one starts on Tuesday and for now, the Mixers must rest their banged-up bodies and prepare for another tough series ahead against the bruisers of Rain or Shine.