One to go: Sangalang powers San Mig to Game 3 win against Rain or Shine

Ian Sangalang lost the Rookie of the Year award against Greg Slaughter early in the game but he helps the Mixers move one win away from a grand slam. (PBA/Nuki Sabio)

The San Mig Super Coffee Mixers are one win away from winning their fourth straight title and a grand slam after a 78-69 victory against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in Game 3 of the 2014 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals, Saturday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

For the first two games of the finals, San Mig Super Coffee relied on big shots from James Yap. He did enough in Game 1 but the Painters had one more big shot in Game 2.

In the turn game of the series, the Mixers did not even need Yap on the floor in the fourth quarter. An unlikely hero stepped up for the Mixers as rookie Ian Sangalang scored eight points early in the fourth quarter to start their run.

After Rain or Shine finally got a taste of the lead in the fourth quarter 59-58, Sangalang went on a 6-0 run on his own to give the Mixers a five point lead. Jeff Chan replied with a putback but Marc Pingris and Mark Barroca scored in back to back transition attacks for the Mixers to lead 70-61 with 7:10 left in the ball game.

Marqus Blakely joined the party as he tipped in his own miss for a 76-66 advantage with three minutes left in the game. The Painters failed to threaten the Mixers from that point on as they gave up offensive rebounds and careless turnovers.

The Mixers still had no answer for Best Import of the Conference awardee Arizona Reid as the prolific scorer had 31 points in the contest. However, the Mixers’ defense held down the Rain or Shine locals as none of them scored in double digits.

Largely missing on offense were Paul Lee and Gabe Norwood who combined for only four points, shooting 2 of 11 from the field.

The Mixers did not exactly dominate the game but they had the lead for all but a few seconds. They built a double-digit lead in the first quarter but the Painters were able to trim it down to 17-14 at the end of the first quarter.

With PJ Simon and Blakely heating up in the second quarter, the Mixers were able to take a 39-30 lead at the half.

The Main Man: Marqus Blakely cannot compete in scoring against Reid but he’ll surely take a win in the series over a win against Reid in the scoring sheet. Blakely had 17 points, 17 rebounds, three steals, and a block in 36 solid minutes for the Mixers.

Honorable Mentions: Sangalang was the top local scorer for the Mixers with 13 points. Joe Devance also bounced back from one of the worst games of his career with 10 points, four rebounds, and an assist in the contest.

Game Turning Point: Sangalang’s 6-0 run was the catalyst for the late San Mig Super coffee breakaway. In the middle of that run, Arizona Reid was on the scorer’s table waiting to check back into the game but he did not get the chance until they were already down by nine points.

He Said It:

San Mig Super Coffee head coach Tim Cone: You can’t talk about it [a grand slam] until it’s done. We have too much respect for Rain or Shine. I told our guys that the Painters are the mentally strongest team we could play. They’re not going to break. We came out and earned it specially from the defensive side. It was not a game of big shots, it was a game of big stops. They took some quick shots and that gave us a little cushion down the stretch. You can’t take plays off because they’ll make you pay. We need to battle against this team in every possession.

They Said It (on Twitter):

 The scores:

SAN MIG SUPER COFFEE 78 - Blakely 17, Sangalang 13, Devance 10, Simon 10, Pingris 7, Yap 7, Barroca 6, Reavis 6, Melton 2, Maliksi 0.

RAIN OR SHINE 69 - Reid 31, Belga 8, Cruz 6, Arana 6, Almazan 4, Chan 4, Tiu 3, Ibanes 2, Lee 2, Norwood 2, Rodriguez 1, Tang 0, Nuyles 0.

Quarters: 17-14, 39-30, 58-55, 78-69