by Waylon Galvez
Manila, Philippines – San Mig Super Coffee solidified its playoff quest as it downed Air 21 with a key fourth quarter run to score a 67-60 win in the 2014 PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup last night at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.
Third year guard Mark Barroca scored 11 points all in the fourth quarter, while veteran center Yancy De Ocampo had a double-double effort of 12 points and 12 rebounds and Peter June Simon finished with 20 points as they powered the Mixers to a crucial win.
Former two-time MVP James Yap missed the game because of back spasms, but the Mixers managed to get the victory, which improved San Mig’s record to 5-7 to force a three-way tie for fifth to seventh places with Barako Bull and Meralco.
“Any win at this points is a pretty win, even though it’s ugly, for us it’s still a win,” said San Mig head coach Tim Cone, who arrived early Saturday from the US to scout for the team’s possible reinforcement for the Commissioner’s Cup.
“It’s a struggle for us without James. Anything for us in the win column is beautiful. Everybody’s tense, a lot of fumbling. We go to play to win, keep trying to win,” said Cone, whose team will next play Petron Blaze Boosters on Wednesday and defending three-time champion Talk ’N Text on Friday.
The setback dropped Air 21 to 3-7, pushing the express on the brink of being eliminated in this all-Filipino conference.
San Mig was up by just a single point, 44-43, to start the fourth quarter when Barroca led an 11-6 run by scoring seven points punctuated by a three-pointer for a 55-46 advantage with 7:26 left in the game.
Air21 got to within 60-63 when Bonbon Custodio made a jumper with 1:34 remaining in the game, and after both teams traded missed shots and turnovers, the desperate Express had a chance to tie the score but Joseph Yeo missed a triple in the last 30 seconds.
Rommel “KG” Canaleta led Air21 with 22 points.
Meanwhile, action returns at the Smart Araneta Coliseum today as Global Port tries to end a five-game loosing skid when it battles Alaska at 3 p.m.., while league-leader Barangay Ginebra San Miguel aims for the top spot in the playoffs as it takes on Barako Bull at 5:15 p.m.
The Batang Pier will play minus top forward Jay Washington, who sustained a right foot injury in a loss to Petron Blaze (98-87) last Wednesday.
Global Port and Alaska, which also lost to Meralco (74-65) two days ago, are in a virtual do-or-die as they carry similar 4-8 records.
SAN MIG SUPER COFFEE 67 – Simon 20, De Ocampo 12, Barroca 11, Pingris 7, Devance 6, Sangalang 6, Mallari 3, Reavis 2, Melton 0.
AIR 21 60 – Canaleta 22, Cardona 11, Yeo 9, Taulava 5, Manuel 4, Arboleda 3, Sharma 2, Custodio 2, Camson 2, Matias 0, Espiritu 0, Menor 0.
Quarters: 17-12, 29-25, 44-43, 67-60
RAIN OR SHINE 90 – Quinahan 19, Belga 16, Nuyles 13, Lee 8, Chan 7, Cruz 6, Tiu 5, Arana 4, Rodriguez 4, Norwood 4, Tang 2, Ibanes 2, Almazan 0.
TALK N’ TEXT 88 – De Ocampo 24, Seigle 18, Castro 17, Alapag 9, Fonacier 8, Aban 4, Anthony 3, Reyes 3, Baclao 2, Peek 0, Ferriols 0, Poligrates 0, Carey 0.
Quarters: 24-18, 45-46, 71-70, 90-88