San Miguel would not allow itself to suffer the ignominy of a series sweep and stressed that by carving out a 98-96 thriller over Bay Area Sunday in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup’s semifinals duel at the PhilSports Arena.
Simon Enciso highlighted his 16-point, seven-assist performance with a clutch three that gave SMB the two-point lead before Devon Scott and Jericho Cruz laced the team’s tenacious defense inside the last 10 seconds that prevented Bay Area from stealing the game.
As a result, the Beermen cut the Dragons’ lead in the best-of-five series at 1-2 and, more importantly, firmed up the defending champions’ belief that they can at least level the duel when it shifts over to the MOA Area on Wednesday.
“The confidence na ibinigay sa amin, malaki ito,” said SMB coach Leo Austria following the win that was the first by his side in three games against the guest team.
“This is an indication na Bay Area is beatable,” added Austria.
A short pre-game speech also helped, Austria also said. “I think I talked for not more than one minute… because I’ve already written down the things that might happen in the game and I allowed them to read it for three to five minutes and I’m so happy sumaksak sa isipan nila.”
None more so than Scott, who had 25 points and 14 rebounds but made his most important contribution to SMB’s cause by foiling a Kobey Lam layup try, still seven seconds to go.