Mixers win thriller against Meralco
Mixers win thriller against Meralco
Cone got his San Mig Coffee crew to play hard in the final eight minutes Friday night and the Mixers outsteadied Meralco, 88-87, to bag No. 2 seeding and a twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA Governors’ Cup playoffs at the Araneta Coliseum.
“It was a total non-team effort for us in the second and third periods,” Cone said after the Mixers were held to just 30 points in the middle two quarters. “I was trying to get under everyone’s skin for them to pick up their intensity level.
“Nothing happened until the last 6-8 minutes of the game when they realized we had a chance to win it.”
Peter June Simon and relief point guard Marc Barroca were big in the stretch as they lifted the Mixers to their fifth straight victory to close out eliminations with a 6-3 record and finish second to idle Petron Blaze.
Meralco needed to wait just one game later in the night to learn its fate, as a 113-106 Globalport victory over Barangay Ginebra in overtime automatically gave the Bolts No. 3 seeding and that distinct playoff advantage in the quarterfinals.
Sol Mercado and Jay Washington stepped up in the crunch for the Batang Pier, who made it past the eliminations for the first time in their young PBA lives after winding up their elimination round schedule with a 4-5 card.
The loss was the fifth in eight games for the Gin Kings, who will clash in a must-win game against Talk ‘N Text on Sunday. Ginebra would need to win that one in order to avoid going through a playoff to make the bottom half of the quarterfinals.
As things stand, Petron Blaze is No. 1 at 8-1, with the Mixers and the Bolts occupying the next two slots.
Alaska, the reigning Commissioner’s Cup champion, is in fifth at 4-4 and could pull into a tie with the Elasto Painters with an expected victory over Air21 also on Sunday.
Should Alaska win, the Aces will oust the Express and they would forge a playoff with the Painters for No. 4. Should that playoff happen, those same teams will again clash in the quarterfinals with No. 4 needing to win just once to advance to the Final Four.
The Tropang Texters would also need to win that game and forge a playoff for the last quarterfinal slot with the Kings. Talk ‘N Text will be playing its new import for just the second time, and Courtney Fells will come into that game feeling better adjusted to the local brand of play.
Marqus Blakely led the Mixers with 24 points and 13 rebounds, and he distracted Mario West’s potential game-winning triple try at the buzzer that sealed the win for San Mig.
Simon finished with 20 points in his finest performance this conference, nine of them coming inside the first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter before Barroca nailed two timely short stabs that gave the Mixers some breathing room.
West finished with 31 points and eight rebounds and Cliff Hodge chipped in with 19 and six boards for the Bolts, who will draw the No. 6 seed in the quarterfinals.
The 6-foot-7 Washington was big on both ends for the Batang Pier, finishing with career-highs of 30 points and five blocks that went with 14 boards as he and Mercado took charge when things weren’t going smoothly for Globalport.
Dior Lowhorn had 41 points for the Kings, who had a solid shot at No. 3 coming into the game. Ginebra needed to win its last two outings and would have bagged third seed because of a superior quotient.
But the Kings would now have to do it the hard way, starting with the Texters on Sunday.
Jay-Jay Helterbrand, the former MVP, forged extension with a three-pointer with 4.2 seconds left that tied it all up at 101, before Washington failed to win it all in regulation for the Batang Pier by muffing a fallaway jumper at the buzzer.
Ginebra also labored hard in overtime after starting point guard and national team player LA Tenorio fouled out with 16.6 seconds left in regulation that sent Mercado to the charity stripe for a split and a 101-98 Globalport lead.
Rockets outlast Warriors 98-94, edge closer to NBA Finals
- The Rockets head into Game 6 on Saturday night in Oakland one win away from knocking off the defending champions and advancing to the NBA Finals.
- After Game 6 on Saturday, the Rockets would host Game 7 on Monday if necessary.
HOUSTON, Texas: Eric Gordon came off the bench to score 24 points and his steal on Golden State’s last possession secured a 98-94 victory Thursday night that gave the Houston Rockets a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.
The Rockets head into Game 6 on Saturday night in Oakland one win away from knocking off the defending champions and advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time since winning back-to-back titles in 1994-95.
Chris Paul scored 20 points and James Harden struggled for his 19, but Paul had to leave the game in the final minute with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
Kevin Durant scored 29 points for the Warriors, who lost in Game 5 of a playoff series for just the second time since 2015.
The Rockets won a second straight defensive struggle between the two potent offenses, leaving the Warriors a loss from missing the NBA Finals for the first time since 2014.
“We had to rely on our defense once again,” Harden said. “Game 4, we weren’t making shots but defensively we were really good. Same thing tonight.”
Draymond Green made a 3-pointer with just over minute left to get Golden State within one. Harden, who was 0 for 11 on 3s, missed his last one with less than 30 seconds left, giving the Warriors the ball back.
Stephen Curry missed a floater and Trevor Ariza grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 10 seconds left. But he made just one of two free throws to give the Warriors another chance.
But Gordon came up with his steal when Green lost control in the lane and added two free throws with 2.4 seconds left to put it away.
Klay Thompson shook off a knee injury that had his status for this game in question to score 23 points and Curry added 22. A bruised left knee kept Andre Iguodala out for the second straight game, and Kevon Looney started in his place.
After losing Game 1 of the series, the Rockets made the best of home-court advantage this time, thrilling a sellout crowd that included Justin Timberlake, Houston Texans star J.J. Watt and rapper Travis Scott.
It’s Houston’s second straight win in the series after snapping Golden State’s NBA playoff-record, 16-game home winning streak with a 95-92 victory on Tuesday night.
Golden State led by one to start the fourth before Paul got going, scoring seven points to power a 10-5 run that gave the Rockets an 81-77 lead with about 9 1/2 minutes left.
Thompson made a 3-pointer after that and then officials reviewed Paul’s first basket of the quarter and ruled he got it off after the shot clock expired, leaving the Warriors ahead 80-79.
The Rockets were clinging to a one-point lead with about seven minutes left when Durant fouled Gordon on a 3-point attempt, losing one of his shoes in the process. Gordon made all three free throws to start a 7-2 spurt that extended the lead to 88-82 midway through the quarter.
The Rockets honored the 10 people killed in last week’s school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, before the game, with the school’s choir singing the national anthem and team owner Tilman Fertitta wearing a “Santa Fe Strong” T-shirt, before Houston scored the game’s first six points in a first half where the team led by as many as 11.
Warriors: Coach Steve Kerr was unsure Thursday if Iguodala would be able to return for Game 6. “He’s dying to play, but he’s not healthy enough,” Kerr said. “We’ll just continue to take it day to day..”.. Curry made four free throws to tie Rick Barry for most free throws made in the playoffs in franchise history with 378. ... Golden State had 18 turnovers.
Rockets: Clint Capela had 12 points and 14 rebounds for his seventh double-double this postseason. ... Houston made 13 of 43 3-pointers, led by four from Gordon.
After Game 6 on Saturday, the Rockets would host Game 7 on Monday if necessary.