June Mar Fajardo shared to his teammates at center court his sixth Best Player of the Conference award before the game, then four San Miguel Beer top guns stepped forward and shared the load in powering the team to the threshold of a PBA Philippine Cup four-peat feat.
Before a good Game Four crowd at the Big Dome, Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter and Arwind Santos carried the bulk of the fight as the Beermen overcame the Magnolia Hotshots in a grind-out defensive battle, squeezing out an 84-80 win for the pivotal 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven titular showdown.
“They played their game, shackled us and were able to dictate the tempo most of the way. Credit to my players, they showed their heart as a champion team,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.
“Meron pa silang natitirang hininga. For sure, they will play harder in the next game, but I also expect my players to play differently. We’re now smelling the championship,” Austria added.
San Miguel takes its first shot at nailing a fourth straight all-Filipino crown Friday at the MOA Arena.
San Miguel 84 – Cabagnot 27, Lassiter 18, Fajardo 15, Santos 13, Rosser 5, Ross 4, Espinas 1, Heruela 0, Pessumal 0.
Magnolia 80 – Sangalang 22, Dela Rosa 15, Barroca 14, Lee 9, Reavis 6, Simon 5, Jalalon 4, Ramos 3, Pascual 2, Gamalinda 0.
Quarters: 14-20, 45-46, 69-64, 84-80.