GETTING a huge lift from their reinforcements, the San Miguel Beermen overwhelmed the Westports Malaysia Dragons, 92-76, yesterday to move within a victory of a playoff spot in the Asean Basketball League at the Maba Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.
Duke Crews, only in his second game with San Miguel, led all scorers with 29 while Nick Fazekas made a rousing debut with 26 points and 14 rebounds as the Beermen jacked up their record to 11-4, a game and a half behind the league-leading Air Asia Philippine Patriots.
While cohesion was a concern for coach Bobby Parks with Fazekas joining the team late into the season, the 6-foot-11 former NBA draftee fit in nicely in his first game with the Beermen, joining forces with Crews in a crippling third-quarter run to take the fight out of the Dragons.
It was a resounding comeback for the Beermen, who avenged their 70-73 loss to the Dragons last Feb. 25. The Beermen actually inflicted a sixth straight loss on the Dragons, who remained third with a 7-8 card.
The Beermen burst out of the gates hard in the second half, dropping a 10-0 bomb to extend the lead to 52-35 in the first four minutes of the third period.
Crews, the former Rain or Shine import in the PBA, sparked the assault with three consecutive dunks. Fazekas, who played for Petron in the PBA last month, capped the run with a couple of short stabs and the Dragons never got closer than 14 points the rest of the way.
Leo Avenido, the hero against the Indonesia Warriors, continued to sparkle with 15 points, including three treys for the Beermen, who are gearing up for their battle with the Air Asia Philippine Patriots on Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Picking up from where he left off in the win over the Warriors, Avenido nailed two triples early on to set the tone for the Beermen, who shot an impressive 36-of-66 from the field.
Import Tiras Wade kept the Dragons in the thick of the fight with 12 of his 28 points in the first half, including a triple five seconds before halftime.
But the former Talk ‘N Text import could do little to stop the onslaught in the second half, where the Beermen led by as many as 20 points, 62-42, after Aris Dimaunahan found Crews for another dunk with 3:02 remaining in the third period. Cedelf P. Tupas
SAN MIGUEL 92—Crews 29, Fazekas 26, Avenido 15, Fajardo 6, Baguion 4, Cabatu 4, Yap 3, Fernandez 3, Ferriols 2, Luanzon 0, Dimaunahan 0.
MALAYSIA 76—Wade 28, Smith 14, Cabahug 13, Ng 7, Belasco 5, Batumalai 4, Kuppusamy 3, Loh 2, Pacana 0, Chee 0.
Quarters: 20-21, 42-35, 70-54, 92-76