Beermen slip past Malaysia Dragons in overtimeBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
SAN MIGUEL’S top quartet turned in scintillating numbers as the Beermen outlasted the Westports Malaysia Dragons in overtime, 111-104, last night to move within a win of a Finals stint in the Asean Basketball League at the Olivarez Gym in Parañaque.
American imports Nick Fazekas pumped in 32 points and Duke Crews had 25 markers, including a slam with 40.8 seconds left that forged overtime, 95-95, as the Beermen survived the hot-shooting Dragons in Game 1 of the best-of-three semifinal series.
Filipino-Italian guard Chris Banchero also had a fantastic performance of 18 points, a season-high 15 assists and six steals while Leo Avenido contributed 17.
“As I said all along, anybody can beat anybody among the top four teams,” said San Miguel coach Bobby Parks.
“We didn’t expect them (Dragons) to shoot the ball the way they shot it tonight. (Brian) Williams shooting threes and bank shots. (Patrick) Cabahug also got it going and he hurt us. But it shows the character of a good team when you can play not so well and still manage to win.”
The top-seeded Beermen had a shot at taking the game in regulation but Fazekas missed a three-point try at the buzzer.
But San Miguel had the game in control in the extra period with a Banchero basket and an Avenido three-point play putting the Beermen ahead early, 100-95.
Avenido, a candidate for this season’s MVP, unloaded all but four of his 17 points in the second half.
The Beermen will try to close it out next weekend when the Dragons host Game 2 in Kuala Lumpur.
SAN MIGUEL 111—Fazekas 32, Crews 25, Banchero 18, Avenido 17, Fajardo 11, Yap 6, Gonzales 2, Luanzon 0, Fernandez 0.
MALAYSIA 104—Williams 32, Cabahug 24, Wade 23, Belasco 11, Batumalai 6, Pacana 5, Kuppusamy 3, Ng 0, Loh 0
Quarters: 20-29, 49-55, 75-75, 95-95 (reg), 111-104 (OT)