Barangay Ginebra 87 – San Miguel Beermen 83 (Ginebra leads 3-2)
Finally, the San Miguel Beermen and Barangay Ginebra engage in a close Finals game. After four blowout games that led to a 2-2 series tie, Ginebra pulls out a tough win over the defending champions to move to one win away from the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup Championship.
The Beermen looked poised to take the series lead when June Mar Fajardo leaked out for a one-handed jam to give San Miguel a five-point lead heading into the final minutes of the game. The Beermen’s defense stifled Ginebra’s offense at that point as they forced several turnovers and got out to running.
Ginebra answered back with championship level defense as well. Ginebra locked down San Miguel in the final three minutes of the game, not allowing a single point from the Beermen in that stretch. The Barangay finished the game on a 9-0 blast led by Scottie Thompson. The run started with a Joe Devance floater off great ball movement from Thompson and Greg Slaughter.
June Mar Fajardo could have extended San Miguel’s lead to three points but he missed two freebies. That led to an offensive possession where Justin Brownlee dumped a pass off to Thompson for a short jumper to give Ginebra the lead with less than 40 seconds left in the game.
The Beermen went to Balkman in the next possession but the Ginebra defense got the stop off a block by Slaughter. That led to a fast break attack that led to a layup by Thompson to give Ginebra a three-point lead. San Miguel needed a three-pointer to tie the game but they muffed all their attempts in the final seconds. LA Tenorio buried a freebie to ice the game.
Thompson led the team with 20 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. Brownlee who’s been on fire in the past four games was limited to just 18 points on 8/21 shooting. Slaughter had 13 points and 13 rebounds while Tenorio added 15.
Early in the second quarter, it seemed like another blowout was looming when the Beermen prevented Ginebra from scoring in the first four minutes of the period. They zoomed out to a double-digit lead. Ginebra found their rhythm midway through the quarter to pull to a tie heading into halftime. Fajardo powered his way to 13 points in the third period to lead the Beermen. He finished with 23 points. The Barangay locals were able to match Fajardo’s output as the game was tied heading into the final period.