Beermen cool off Saigon Heat
Philippine Daily Inquirer
THE SAN MIGUEL Beermen stayed in sizzling form heading into the AirAsia Asean Basketball League playoffs following an 83-68 whipping of the Saigon Heat Wednesday night at the Tan Binh Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City.
Import Nick Fazekas dished out a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Leo Avenido added 15 for the Beermen, who pulled away from a tight contest in the third period.
“We did not play great tonight but our defense helped us win the game,” said San Miguel coach Bobby Parks.
“We are going straight back to work when we get back to Manila. We have to get ready for the playoffs right away.”
With their 12th victory in their last 13 games, the Beermen finished the elimination round as the top seed with a 17-4 record, assuring them of home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
With a 15-5 record, the AirAsia Philippine Patriots will finish second behind the Beermen regardless of the result of their last game.
The Westsports Malaysia Dragons lost to the Singapore Slingers, 87-105, and dropped to 11-10 for the fourth spot that could pave the way for a showdown with the Beermen in the semifinals.
But a win by the Slingers over the third-ranked Indonesia Warriors on Sunday could give the Dragons third spot and a date with the Patriots because of a better head-to-head record against the Warriors.
Another import, Duke Crews, contributed 12 points as the Beermen avenged their 63-66 loss to the Heat last March at the Ynares Sports Arena.
Buoyed by a lively home crowd, Heat stayed in the thick of the fight in the first half and even took a 36-30 lead on Rob Sanz’s triple, before the Beermen imposed their will in the last two periods.
The 6-foot-10 Fazekas and Avenido joined forces in a searing third-quarter assault as the Beermen finally seized control with a closing 8-0 run for a 63-51 cushion.
The Beermen extended the lead to 77-57 with 2:45 remaining, after Fazekas’ undergoal stab was followed by Chris Banchero’s two free throws.
Jonathan Jones finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Heat who also drew 11 points each from Rob Sanz and Jahmar Thorpe. It was the Heat’s seventh loss in 20 games in their maiden season in the league. Cedelf P. Tupas