MANILA, January 17, 2005 
(STAR) By Nelson Beltran  -  Talk about peaking up at the right time, and one could talk about San Miguel’s story.

The San Miguel Beermen, who had a roller-coaster ride in the classification-round, are now safe in the Gran Matador PBA Philippine Cup semifinals, storming into the Final Four with an amazing four-game romp they capped with a 97-86 rout of the Alaska Milk Aces last night at the Araneta Coliseum.

After sweeping the Sta. Lucia Realtors in their best-of-three wildcard battles, the Beermen duplicated the feat versus the Aces to gain the right to challenge the Barangay Ginebra Kings in a best-of-five semis showdown.

"Highly motivated ang team kasi we’ve been a while since the last time we made the semis. I just hope yung self-motivation ng mga players hindi para umabot lang sa semis," said San Miguel coach Jong Uichico.

"Ang ganda ng inilalaro ng Ginebra and they will set out in the semis with fresh legs after a three-week rest. We, on the other hand, have been playing almost everyday since the start of the year," Uichico added.

But the Beermen have been on a roll – its full effect the team showed in disposing of the Aces.

"As I’d been saying, if we caught them on a roll, it’s nearly impossible to beat them. It happened tonight," said Alaska coach Tim Cone.

"If they played well collectively, there’s no team in the PBA now which can match up with them. We threw everything at them tonight, but they easily solved it," Cone added.

The Beermen made a decisive move in the second quarter and just sustained the effort through the final half for the relatively easy victory.

Uichico rotated only eight men who all responded very well, keeping the Aces in check up to the finish after building a 55-42 lead at the half.

Olsen Racela, Danny Ildefonso, Nic Belasco, Danny Seigle and Dondon Hontiveros all scored in double figures with Dorian Peña adding 12 rebounds and nine points in a near double-double game. Dale Singson and Anton Villoria combined for 10 points, eight assists and six rebounds while backing up Racela at the backcourt.

Ildefonso and Belasco scored 20 points together as the Beermen staged a daring breakaway from a 26-24 edge in the first quarter.

The Beermen padded their 55-42 halftime lead to 77-60 at the end of the third quarter and enjoyed a 21-point lead once in the fourth before completing the victory.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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