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Top 5 reasons why San Miguel fall to Ginebra


By Mark Patriarca

San Miguel’s composure is probably the best in the league especially when it comes to pivotal moments. But during the last deciding minutes of Game 5 against Ginebra, we saw their mortal form as they suddenly collapsed and were overwhelmed by the ‘never say die’ spirit of Ginebra.

Here are the top five reasons on why San Miguel lose to Ginebra in the first grind-it-out game of the best-of-seven series.

1.) Renaldo Balkman playing ‘hero-ball’

After scoring an easy lay-in to extend the lead to five, 76-81, with over 4 minutes left on the clock, Balkman’s composure crumbled when Ginebra mounted a comeback. During the last four pivotal minutes, he desperately tried to carry San Miguel on his back but to no avail, did not score a single point within that stretch. He attempted a total of six shots during that time, none of them went in.

2.) Fajardo choked two free throws

June Mar Fajardo has always been the steady anchor for San Miguel’s offense especially on crunch time. But in Game 5, he botched two key free-throws that contributed to their defeat. He had a chance to extend their lead further to three, but uncharacteristically missed both free-throws that led to a Scottie Thompson jumper and ultimately let the game slip on their hands. That fumble overshadowed his consistent strong showing in the game finishing with 23 points with just two missed field goals, and 11 boards.

3.) Ross paltry three-point shooting

Chris Ross had a bad shooting night, but that didn’t stop him from taking threes especially on the deciding minutes. Ginebra left him wide open, and San Miguel took the bait. San Miguel was held scoreless within the last 3:17 minutes of the game. At that time, Ross attempted 3 threes, all missed and also that costly out of bound infraction within the two-second frame. He finished the ball game with just three points, 1-9 from the rainbow country. And what’s surprising is he played the second most minutes in the game for SMB with 44.

4.) Arwind Santos heaved three from the parking lot

To be fair to Santos, when the game is on the line, you won’t even have a second to think for a better shot selection. But still, this is San Miguel we are talking about. During that last offensive possession, Beermen shot three threes, two from Ross and one from Santos. Among those three, it was Santos’ which had the lowest percentage to go in taking that three almost in front of the coliseum’s logo. Arwind didn’t even converted a single three within the game with seven misses. Their three-point specialist Marcio Lassiter was not even able to have a go to try and tie the game for the Beermen.

5.) Where is Cabagnot?

Alex Cabagnot is not called ‘The Crunchman’ for nothing, but he didn’t even had the chance to prove himself during the dying seconds of the game. At most part of the deciding minutes, SMB coach Leo Austria opted to field in Chris Ross, who wasn’t in his usual element during the game. Cabagnot could have been one of the best option when it comes to clutch situations.

He was supposed to enter the court at the 23.1 mark with Ginebra up by three, 86-83, but it was too late as officials deemed it was past within the allotted substitution time. Coach Austria said during the presser that their last time-out huddle was messy as players just wanted to dispute bad officiating which was probably the reason why Cabagnot was not fielded in at the right moment.