Beermen get back at Warriors in ABL opener

Posted at 01/13/13 9:16 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Brian Williams got going in the second half as the San Miguel Beermen hacked out a vengeful 64-53 nipping of defending champion Indonesia Warriors Friday night at the start of the 2013 Asean Basketball League at Mahaka Square’s Britama Arena in Jakarta.

Not much of a factor in the initial half, the 6-foot-10 Williams banged in 12 of his 15 points in the last 20 minutes of play and hauled down a whopping 19 rebounds as the Beermen pulled away from five-point lead to as much as a 13-point spread (60-47) and complete the rout of their 2012 conquerors.

“We actually didn’t play very well but we’re lucky because we had a lot of experienced players and we’re able to beat the Indonesian team,” said Leo Austria, who picked up his first win as head coach of the retooled Beermen.

Both teams were actually rusty coming off the six-month lull in-between tournaments and virtually fired bricks in the early goings.

But the Beermen got the early upperhand, 26-19, behind Chris Banchero and RJ Rizada. The Warriors managed to stay within striking distance, 25-30, at the interval.

From there, the burly Williams, a transferee from Malaysia Dragons, imposed his will underneath and helped his new team break away.

“I got off to a slow start but the important thing was we got the W,” said Williams, who had to double his effort with fellow import Gabe Freeman slowed down by foul trouble.

“Me and Gave only had a week with this team so we’re not even jelling yet. By the time we get to our second game in two weeks’ time, we’ll probably jell better,” said Williams, who also had eight rebounds off the offensive glass and added two assists, a steal and a block to his stats line.

Banchero finished with 14 points while Leo Avenido, Rizada and Freeman added 10, nine, and eight, respectively, for SMB. Erik Menk debuted with six markers while Asi Taulava only had two points but grabbed 10 rebounds.

Steven Thomas led the way for the Warriors with 15 points and 14 boards while Chris Daniels had 10 markers and 11 caroms before limping out of the game. Austria’s former player at Adamson, Jerick Canada, scored nine for the home team, which missed injured Fil-Am star Stanley Pringle. Indonesia’s Fil-Am big man, Richard Smith, had a forgettable scoreless stint on 0-of-10 shooting and had a run-in with Taulava in the post-game.

The scores:

San Miguel Beermen 64 – Williams 15, Banchero 14, Avenido 10, Rizada 9, Freeman 8, Menk 6, Taulava 2, Luanzon 0, Hubalde 0.

Indonesia 53 – Thomas 15, Daniels 10, Canada 9, J. Smith 7, Wuysang 6, Prihantono 3, Sitepu 3, Indrajaya 0, R. Smith 0.

Quarterscores: 16-9, 30-25, 45-36, 64-53.

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