The Beermen flexed their muscles on the Elite side, 118-93, to remain the hottest team in the mid-elimination round of the PBA Philippine Cup, Friday night, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
After getting tripped by the Fuelmasters in their second game, San Miguel has moved on quickly and did not look back, as they’re now seating comfortably at the uppermost spot of the team standings with six wins against only one loss.
San Miguel, who has clinched the first playoff berth, controlled the tempo on most parts of the game, hardly allowing the Blackwater to mount a comeback after erecting a lead that went as high as 29 points.
Too many Beermen were unstoppable on both ends of the floor as even Alex Cabagnot, who was expected to missed the game due to nose injury, surprised the audience and came out to play to wound up 14 points.
Three more SMB players finished in double-figures with three-time MVP June Mar Fajardo pace-setting the insurmountable offense with 25 points on top of 8 rebounds and 5 assists. But it was Gabby Espinas who earned the player of the game honors after having a 22-point and 6-board output. While Marcio Lassiter equaled Cabagnot’s production at 14 markers.
The Blackwater, meanwhile, found themselves in a big hole early on and could not recover after three quarters. But behind the plays of Raymond Aguilar and Roi Sumang, the Elite slightly threatened the reigning champions after cutting the deficit to only 11 points in the payoff period.
But it was the closest the Blackwater could get to as the Beermen continued to roll and snatched back the momentum.
When the win seemed safe in the hands of San Miguel, coach Leo Austria then sent in rookies Arnold Van Opstal Rashawn McCarthy with Van Opstal getting the most cheer, both from the fans and his teammates, after hitting three straight baskets in the dying minutes of the fourth to record career-high six points.
Elite’s second year sophomore Art dela Cruz topscored the team with 16 markers while Raymond Aguilar added 15 points off the bench.
The Leo Isaac-led team now dropped to 4-4 record and went down to sixth place in the team rankings.
SAN MIGUEL 118 – Fajardo 25, Espinas 22, Cabagnot 14, Lassiter 14, Santos 8, Reyes 8, Tubid 8, Van Opstal 6, Ross 4, Garcia 4, Agovida 3, Heruela 2, McCarthy 0, Mabulac 0.
BLACKWATER 93 – Dela Cruz 16, Aguilar 15, Pinto 12, Sumang 11, Buenafe 10, Forrester 7, Sena 6, Cervantes 4, Pascual 4, Belo 4, Miranda 2, Melano 2, Ababou 0, Banal 0.
Quarters: 37-21, 65-40, 91-66, 118-93