San Miguel outguns Phoenix to open 43rd PBA season
Paul Lintag on Dec 17, 2017 08:56 PM
Marcio Lassiter scored eight straight points for San Miguel in the fourth quarter as the three-time defending Philippine Cup champion Beermen took care of Phoenix to start the new PBA season.
San Miguel's first title defense this season is off to a strong start.
The Beermen got their bid for a four-peat going early, scoring an impressive 104-96 decision over the Phoenix Fuel Masters in the 2018 Philippine Cup to open the PBA's 43rd season Sunday at the Big Dome.
Marcio Lassiter caught fire in the final half of the fourth quarter to help the Beermen hold off the pesky Fuel Masters, getting win no. 1 of the new season.
After Phoenix cut the San Miguel lead to only five, 85-80, with 6:28 to go, Lassiter fired eight straight points for the Beermen, including two triples, to restore a double-digit lead, 95-84.
And for good measure, Lassiter added another long 2 for a 17-point San Miguel advantage with three minutes left.
"The first win is always really hard, especially for our teame, everybody prepares hard for us," head coach Leo Austria said.
"Fortunately all of our starters scored in double figures. I did not expect they will score a lot because I think this is the worst offseason we had," he added.
Aside from Lassiter, reigning four-time league MVP June Mar Fajardo did the heavy lifting in the fourth for the Beermen, scoring nine of his game-high 23 points in the last 12 minutes.
The Kraken also had a cool 16 rebounds to go along with four assists and four blocks.
Alex Cabagnot drilled 22 points for San Miguel while Lassiter was good for 20. Chris Ross and Arwind Santos combined for 30 points.
It didn't take long for the Beermen to establish control as the champs opened with eight unanswered points in the opening minute of the game.
However, Phoenix, playing its first game with new head coach Louie Alas, settled down and even took the lead momentarily in the second quarter, 29-28.
San Miguel quickly turned things around though and entered the break up 10, 47-37.
Jeff Chan led the way for the Fuel Masters with 16 points while Matthew Wright came off the bench to score 12 points.
Gelo Alolino, Justin Chua, and Willie Wilson all dropped 11 points each for Phoenix in the season-opening loss.
SAN MIGUEL 104 — Fajardo 23, Cabagnot 22, Lassiter 20, Ross 16, Santos 14, Pessumal 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, Agovida 0, Heruela 0, Lanete 0, Mabulac 0, Mamaril 0, Vigil 0.
PHOENIX 96 — Chan 18, Wright 12, Alolino 11, Chua 11, Wilson 11, Dehesa 8, Kramer 6, Jazul 4, Eriobu 2, Intal 2, Revilla 1.
Quarters: 23-18, 47-37, 79-68, 104-96.
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