SMB muscles past NLEX
After some kicking, roughhousing, an alleged racial slur and a lot of things that were truly uncalled for, San Miguel Beer on Friday night did what it was supposed to in the endgame and showed—that despite all the distractions—its focus is fixed on a fourth straight PBA Philippine Cup title.
“Our team just refused to lose,” coach Leo Austria said after a really physical 109-98 victory over NLEX that kept the Beermen the only unbeaten team in the season-opening conference at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay. “What prevailed tonight was the experience of our players.”
There were some instances when play became dirty—or bordered on it—and second motions were made with the intent to hurt, but the Beermen played through all of that to rally from a nine-point first half deficit and win with plenty to spare.
Arwind Santos scored 26 points and had 13 rebounds and June Mar Fajardo finished with 25 and 16 in a double-edged attack that the Road Warriors had no answer to.
San Miguel rose to 4-0 and dealt the Road Warriors a third straight loss in a 2-3 card.
The game was tainted with the ejection of San Miguel’s Chris Ross with 1:46 left and outcome all but decided, as he got into an altercation with NLEX coach Yeng Guiao that resulted in a second technical foul.
Austria later said that, according to Ross, his point guard flipped his top after Guiao called him the “N” word.
“That’s the word they don’t want to hear, and I can’t blame him,” Austria said.
Kiefer Ravena, the NLEX super rookie, felt the brunt of the San Miguel defense, with Von Pessumal flooring him with a cheap shot at one point.
Settling into a groove even without its biggest star, GlobalPort dealt Blackwater a 101-76 beating in the earlier game to join a bevy of teams crammed in the middle of the pack.
It was the second straight victory for the Batang Pier, who rose to 2-2, managing to claim the scalp of another formidable enemy even with Terrence Romeo still absent.
GlobalPort sent the Elite to their second straight loss in a 2-3 card.
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