Beermen pass Meralco test to gain share of lead in the All-Filipino

Paul Lintag on Dec 27, 2017 09:16 PM
Beermen pass Meralco test to gain share of lead
San Miguel joined NLEX on top of the standings this early in the All-Filipino.

ANTIPOLO, Rizal --- If Meralco is San Miguel's first major test in the 2018 Philippine Cup, then the Beermen passed that test with flying colors.

The three-time defending champions came through for a big 103-97 win Wednesday at the Ynares Arena here to improve to a 2-0 record to end 2017.

San Miguel joined NLEX on top of the standings this early in the All-Filipino.

Losing a 22-point lead in the second half, the Beermen had to stand tough in the fourth to avoid yet another meltdown against Meralco similar to their last encounter in the 2017 Governors' Cup.

Last season, San Miguel lost a 17-point lead to the Bolts. The repercussions of that defeat were crucial for the Beermen as they missed out on a top-2 seed in the playoffs.

The next game, San Miguel lost to Ginebra in the quarterfinals and the team's Grand Slam hopes evaporated into thin air.

No such collapse happened thos time as the Beermen knew what to do late in the game and that was to feed their reigning four-time league MV June Mar Fajardo.

The Kraken dropped 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter as San Miguel managed to hold on despite Meralco's furious rally. 

"I'm so thankful that we ended the year with a bang. With this win, I think this will motivate us to play better next time," head coach Leo Austria said.

"I told the boys na from the start, we should have a good start ano. I know Meralco, even though they are down 17 or 20 points, I know they will come back ano dahil we lost in our last game against Meralco when we're leading by 17 points that's why I'm very aware of that lead," he added.

San Miguel raced to an 18-point lead inthe first half behind the hot shooting of Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter.

Cabagnot fired 12 of his 29 points in the second quarter while Marcio started the game with 10 quick points before finishing with 18.

However, the Bolts turned to Mike Tolomia to make it a game in the second half as the second-year guard led a Meralco to a 32-22 third-quarter run where he scored 15 points. He ended up wit ha team-high 21 points off the bench.

After Tolomia, KG Canaleta once again proved his spot with Meralco by addinf another 17 points while Reynel Hugnatan was good for 16. Meralco dropped to 1-1 after the loss.

 

The Scores:

SAN MIGUEL 103 — Cabagnot 29, Fajardo 26, Lassiter 18, Pessumal 11, Ross 9, Santos 8, Mamaril 2, Lanete 0, Heruela 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.

MERALCO 97 — Tolomia 21, Canaleta 17, Hugnatan 16, Newsome 13, Lanete 10, Bono 8, Amer 7, Baracael 2, Ballesteros 2, Caram 1, Faundo 0, Sedurifa 0, Salva 0. 

Quarters: 30-18, 59-41, 81-73, 103-97.

 


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