One for the road
ILOILO—San Miguel Beer was obviously not having the greatest of games Saturday night. But when push came to shove, the Beermen simply had too much more to give.
Closing out with a 12-2 spurt, the Beermen made it look like it was just another day at the office at University of San Agustin Gym here after posting an 88-76 decision of TNT KaTropa in a Petron Saturday Special Game that kept them in the solo PBA Philippine Cup lead.
The final score did not reflect how hard the Beermen struggled, and how coach Leo Austria had to dig deep into his bench earlier before zooming to a third straight victory and dealing the hard-fighting Texters a second defeat in three outings.
Seeking to win this tournament an unprecedented fourth straight season, San Miguel looked very vulnerable until early in the fourth period, when Arwind Santos stepped up on both ends to boost the Beermen.
From 76-74, Santos scored eight of his 15 points points, had a block and a couple of huge rebounds as he almost singlehandedly took the fight out of the Texters.
TNT led by as many as nine late in the third but couldn’t put San Miguel away, even with the three-time defending champion playing second-string guards Brian Heruela and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and the veteran Billy Mamaril at the middle.
Instead, the trio had a lot of success and managed to take the Beermen to within three points going into the fourth.
June Mar Fajardo scored 20 points, Marcio Lassiter scattered 15 and Cabagnot 11 for San Miguel, which is the only unbeaten team in the field after sister team Barangay Ginebra took a shock loss at the hands of Blackwater Friday night.
Troy Rosario had 15 to lead all TNT shooters as Jason Castro, Asia’s finest point guard earlier this decade, was held to just nine points.
Meanwhile, NLEX and Magnolia collide in the 6:45 p.m. contest at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday for solo second place. Alaska takes the Big Dome floor at 4:30 p.m. against KIA Picanto.
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