After Game 3, the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers moved to within one win away from from another title,from another championship, and from making their dream of a Grand Slam into a reality.
Come Game 4, with them leading the series, 2-1, the Mixers will have their first crack at making history. But before going into Game 4, let’s see how the Mixers were able to get that pivotal Game three win against the Elasto Painters.
Story of the Game: Mixers’ Championship Defense
Once again, in a must-win game for the Mixers, they turned to their most powerful weapon, their vaunted lock-down defense. The Mixers played solid defense for most of the game (except in the third, more of this later). They limited Rain or Shine to only 69 points in the game, the lowest in a PBA Finals game since the Mixers’ 68 vs. Petron in last year’s Governor’s Cup Finals. They started and ended the game very strong defensively limiting the offensive machine in Rain or Shine to only 14 points in the first and fourth quarter of Game 3.
Arizona Reid carried the load for the Elasto Painters once more finishing with 31 points, although shooting only 1 of 7 from deep (credit goes to Rafi Reavis, Marc Pingris, and Marqus Blakely’s defense on him), but support from the Rain or Shine locals never came. I guess it was a deliberate ploy in Coach Tim Cone’s part for Reid to have his way against the Mixers as long as the rest of the Elasto Painters will not be able to contribute big in the game. No other Elasto Painter was able to score in double figures as Jeff Chan and Paul Lee were limited to only 4 points and 2 points respectively. Beau Belga top scored for the locals of Rain or Shine finishing with 8 points in the game.
The Mixers displayed disciplined team defense in Game 3 forcing Rain or Shine into 23 turnovers (22.8 percent) and limited them to only 17 assists (7 below their average).
Keys to the Game
RAINING AND SHINING IN THE 3RD QUARTER
For the Mixers to clinch the 2014 Governor’s Cup title in Game 4, they must be able to play solid defense the entire ball game. Although they’ve played solid defense overall the past 2 games, there is one quarter that Rain or Shine’s been able to control, the thid quarter. In Games 2 and 3, the Elasto Painters averaged 27 points in the third, way too much points considering the Mixers have been able to limit them to below 20 points in the other 6 quarters the past 2 games. In Game four, the Mixers must be able to match the intensity of the Elasto Painters coming from the half time break as it is in the third quarter wherein ROS gets their bearings going and prepare for a last push in the game.
In Game one, it was Mark Barroca. In Game 2, it was Alex Mallari and Justin Melton. And last game, Game 3, it was Ian Sangalang’s turn to contribute. The rookie from San Sebastian, poured 8 of his 13 points in the pivotal fourth quarter, leading San Mig’s surge that won the game for them. Sangalang displayed a variety of veteran moves that caught the Elasto Painters. That performance by Ian Sangalang just showed how deadly the Mixers are. There are several guys on the team that can contribute and play big at any given night. Of course, James Yap, Marc Pingris, PJ Simon, Joe Devance, and Marqus Blakely will be the usual suspects for the team in Game 4 but if the X-factors of the Mixers will be able to play big again, it will be a great sign for them. So who will it be in Game 4? My hunch tells me it’s Allein Maliksi who is due for a breakout performance after struggling the past 2 games.
As in every series, it will be the series-clinching game that will be the most difficult to win. In Game 4, it’s expected that Rain or Shine will give it all they’ve got as this will be a do-or-die for them most especially the locals who had a sub-par game in Game three. For the Mixers, as long as they’ll be able to bring their defense that gave them three-straight crowns, the fourth-straight one will be inevitable here in Game four.
San Mig wins and the Grand Slam dream will now be a reality.