Staying alive: Llamados stave off elimination, trip Beermen in Game 5


Derby Ace is just too proud a franchise not to give a fight when the chips are down. The Llamados did exactly that Friday night in front of a big weekend crowd at the Araneta Coliseum.

With import Tony Washam re-discovering his shooting touch, the reigning Philippine Cup champions turned back mighty San Miguel, 88-82, to stay alive in their PBA Fiesta Cup semifinals series.

Washam scored 12 of the Llamados’ last 16 points while Marc Pingris and Rafi Reavies did their share behind a combined 33 points and 23 rebounds as Derby Ace claimed Game 5 and cut down the semi-finals series deficit at 3-2.

The Derby Ace import bounced back by finishing with 28 points, just two nights after being held down to only 12 on 2-of-19 shooting in Game 4. He also went almost perfect from the foul line by shooting 12-of-13.

Pingris added 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, while Reavies had 16 points, 13 rebounds, and a key loose-ball recovery down the stretch after a Washam missed basket.

That the two big men stepped up big time made up for the lackluster showing of top scorer James Yap.

The former league MVP struggled from the field with only seven points on 3-of-10 shooting and didn’t have a single trip at the free-throw line.

His total output tied his season-lowe and ended as his conference low.

“May nahugot pa," said Derby Ace coach Ryan Gregorio. “We are really trying to dig deep and try to salvage the conference. And we were lucky that we were able to pull through tonight. Rafi and Ping took it upon themselves to deliver for us. It’s nice to see them scoring crucial baskets to keep our season alive."

Paul Artadi came off the bench and contributed 10 points to fill in the void left by Roger Yap and June Simon, who could only combine for eight points.

“It’s nice to play again on Sunday," said Gregorio. “People say that we’re supposed to be tired, fatigued, but at this point we want to stay alive. We want to compete. I hope we can prolong our season."

Gabe Freeman grabbed a career-high 25 rebounds and scored 18 points for San Miguel Beer, which was still leading, 77-76 with 3:52 left.

Joseph Yeo Arwind Santos and Jay Washington each had 14 points for the defending champions, who can still finish off the Llamados tomorrow in Game Six.

“We could have come out better," said SMB coach Siot Tanquingcen. “When things are going your way, you are most vulnerable, and that’s something you have to fight through. That’s what separates from just being good to being great."

Washington drove strong to the basket and scored for a 77-76 SMB lead with 3:52 to go, marking the last time the Beermen had the advantage.

Washam pushed the Llamados back into the lead with two free throws, and then was fouled by Santos while going for a three-point shot. He made all the gift shots to make it 81-77, and further increased the advantage after Alex Cabagnot bungled a lay-up with a side jumper, 83-77, time down to 2:14.

After Danny Ildefonso converted on his own jumper from the corner, Washam sank a free throw. Jonas Villanueva then split his charities, before Pingris made it 86-80 with two more gift shots.

Freeman knocked in a jumper with 16.9 ticks left to slice the deficit at 86-82, but Washam sealed the game with two more charities with 14.1 seconds left remaining. – JVP, GMAnews.TV

The scores:

Derby Ace 88 - Washam 28,Pingris 17, Reavis 16, Artadi 10, Yap J. 7, Simon 5, Yap R. 3, Canaleta 2, Maierhofer 0, Adducul 0, Allado 0.

San Miguel Beer 82 - Freeman 18, Yeo 14, Santos 14, Washington 14, Hontiveros 7, Racela 5, Villanueva 4, Cabagnot 4, Ildefonso 2, Tugade 0, Pena 0.

Quarterscores: 23-18, 44-43, 64-64, 88-82