The Alaska Aces finally got to turn the tables on the San Miguel Beermen after four years of heartbreak thanks to the Beermen.
Alaska advance to the PBA Governors' Cup semifinals with a 96-85 thumping of San Miguel at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
As the third seed, Alaska held a twice-to-beat advantage over San Miguel, the sixth seed. Despite the advantage, Alaska coach Alex Compton did not want an extended series.
"I really didn't want to play Friday," Compton said. "I really didn't want to play them. That's not a good situation. June Mar [Fajardo] starting to get his groove back, Christian [Standhardinger] leads the league in scoring in locals. ... Today was like a knock out [game]. We wanted to finish it today."
The Aces started hot, racing to a 12-3 lead courtesy of a Simon Enciso triple at the 7:37 mark of the first quarter. Import Kevin Murphy helped rally the Beermen to within 23-19 at the end of the quarter.
San Miguel's 3-point shooting kept the game close in the second quarter, as Marcio Lassiter dropped two triples, and Kelly Nabong added one of his own. Though the Beermen only shot 34 percent in the first half, their defense held the Aces in check. San Miguel trailed by just one at the half.
The Aces put the game away in the third quarter. Alaska's defense held San Miguel scoreless for the opening five minutes of the second half. San Miguel finished the third period with just seven points and the Aces enjoyed a 64-49 cushion going into the final quarter.
The Aces lost key players in the fourth quarter as Mike Harris left with cramps and Chris Banchero sprained his ankle. Still, the Beermen couldn't counter the defensive efforts of Vic Manuel, Noy Baclao and Jeron Teng.
Harris led Alaska with 25 points and 17 rebounds, while Enciso chipped in with 15 points on 3-of-7 from beyond the arc.
Kevin Murphy led San Miguel with 19 points, while Standhardinger added 18. San Miguel shot 7-of-25 from beyond the arc and just 37 percent shooting from the field.
"No matter what, nothing should affect our defense," Compton said. "We can make a turnover, we can miss a shot, we can think there's a missed call, that shouldn't affect our defense. I think our guys were great about that."
The Aces await the winner of the Phoenix Fuel Masters-Meralco Bolts series.
Alaska 96 - Harris 25, Enciso 15, Manuel 14, Teng 9, Baclao 6, Exciminiano 6, Casio 5, Thoss 4, Banchero 2.
San Miguel 85 - Murphy 19, Standhardinger 18, Lassiter 14, Santos 8, Nabong 8, Cabagnot 6, Fajardo 6, Ross 4, Heruela 2.
- San Miguel rookie Christian Standhardinger is the frontrunner to win Best Player of the Conference, although San Miguel's early exit could keep the window open. Standhardinger leads the pack with 43.1 SPs, followed by Japeth Aguilar's 34.8 and Chris Banchero with 34.2. Both Barangay Ginebra and Alaska are through to the semis.
- This is the first playoff win by Alaska over San Miguel in the Alex Compton and Leo Austria era. The Beermen won three titles against Alaska, and disposed of the Aces in the semis last conference.