Big Game James sparks San Mig Coffee over Ginebra in Manila Clasico Game Seven, into finals

PBA/Nuki Sabio

PBA/Nuki Sabio

That’s why they call him Big Game James.

San Mig Super Coffee Mixers superstar James Yap scored 24 of his 30 points in the first half to power his team to a 110-87 victory over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in Game Seven of their Manila Clasico semifinals series on Wednesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

“Sarap lang maglaro kasi sobrang dami ng tao,” said Yap, who shot 7-of-10 from beyond the arc apart from grabbing six rebounds.

“I’m kinda stunned,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone. “Really a stunning performance by us. Great shooting, wow! I didn’t do anything tonight, these guys did it all.”

The win gave the Mixers the final ticket to the PLDT Home DSL Philippine Cup championship round, where they are set to face the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.

Behind the hot hands of Yap and center Rafi Reavis, San Mig Coffee rolled to a 26-15 lead in the first quarter.

San Mig Coffee still led, 31-20, on a three-pointer by Yap early in the second quarter. But Ginebra’s main man Mark Caguioa, brandishing the never-say-die spirit, caught fire to carry his team back. Caguioa sparked a 14-3 run that allowed Ginebra to tie the game at 34-all.

But Yap returned to continue the onslaught for the Mixers, scoring 11 points in a 23-10 run that gave his team a 57-44 spread at halftime.

San Mig Coffee continued to nurse the lead in the second half, taking a 79-67 advantage heading into the final period.

Peter June Simon took over in the fourth quarter, where he scored 15 of his 28 points to keep Ginebra at bay.

He nailed two free throws with 2:53 remaining to push the lead to 18, 102-84.

“There was just too much James and PJ,” said Cone. “Phenomenal shooting like that, no one’s going to beat us tonight.”

Mark Barroca put the nail on the coffin a few moments later with a three-pointer, before Simon hit another jumper for a 107-84 bubble.

The Mixers move into the title series with the Elasto Painters in a rematch of the 2012 Governors’ Cup finals, which Rain or Shine won in a series that went the distance.

“The last time we played Rain or Shine in a series, it went seven games. Honestly, we’re a bit deeper now than we were,” said Cone, who only has one day to prepare his team for the finals, while Rain or Shine has had a weeklong rest.

“We’re gonna go in there in Game One and see what we can do.”

The scores:

SAN MIG SUPER COFFEE 110 – Yap 30, Simon 28, Sangalang 15, Reavis 15, Pingris 8, Barroca 6, Mallari 6, Devance 2, Melton 0.

GINEBRA 87 – Caguioa 23, Aguilar 17, Tenorio 16, Slaughter 12, Mamaril 6, Helterbrand 5, Ellis 4, Baracael 3, Reyes 1, Monfort 0, Urbiztondo 0.

Quarters: 28-20, 57-44, 79-67, 110-87

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