Beermen cling to 2nd spot, hold off Mixers
MANILA, Philippines -- San Miguel Beer strung up three straight triples to quell the last of San Mig Coffee’s series of rallies, hacking out a 97-88 victory to solidify its bid for a second-place finish in the PLDT Home TVolution PBA Commissioner’s Cup elimination round at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City Saturday night.
Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter and Kevin Jones made those triples, giving the Beermen a 97-81 spread and subsequently the win in this crucial Petron Blaze Saturday Special.
The Beermen, thus, jacked up their win-loss record to 6-2, a full game and a half ahead of the Mixers who dropped to joint third place with the Alaska Milk Aces at 4-3.
Obviously, San Miguel Beer made good use of its long two-week break after a 78-89 defeat at the hands of Alaska in a road game in Binan, Laguna on March 29.
“I didn’t know how to come out from that break. We just did our best, using it wisely to prepare for the two-time champion San Mig Coffee,” said SMB coaching consultant Todd Purves.
“Until proven otherwise, I think San Mig Coffee is still the team to beat in this tournament,” Purves added.
The Beermen turned the tables on the Mixers by doing a good job to get the rebounds and make their outsides shots.
Jones had a big contribution on both fronts, hauling down 16 rebounds and going 4-of-6 from beyond the arc to highlight his 26-point production.
Lassiter, Chris Ross, Junmar Fajardo also made impact as the Beermen dominated the San Mig Coffee side stymied by the loss of energetic forward Marc Pingris to an injury suffered early in the second period.
Moments after a collision with Doug Kramer, Pingris went down on his knees in pain and left for the showers ahead of the rest. He apparently suffered back spasm.
The Beermen slowly pulled away after Pingris’ exit and went on to inch closer to claiming the other twice-to-beat bonus in the quarterfinals.
Fajardo came through with a three-point play off James Mays as the Beermen enjoyed a 12-point spread, 50-38, before eventually closing the half at 50-42.
San Miguel edged San Mig Coffee, 25-23, in the first quarter then started the next period with a 15-7 roll to take its first double-digit spread at 50-42.
Meanwhile, Alaska Milk tries to improve its record in the Top Four while Barangay Ginebra seeks to formalize quarterfinals entry as they square off in the 5:15 p.m. weekend mainer at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday.
Barako Bull fights for survival while Globalport hopes to avoid a winless showing in the mid-season tourney as they play in the 3 p.m. curtain raiser.