Beermen nip Warriors, near first ABL crownBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
SAN MIGUEL Beer pulled off a big endgame splurge against an Indonesian squad that looked poised to back up all its bold talk.
Rallying from a double-digit deficit, the Beermen got their acts together in the final five minutes and squeezed out an 86-83 victory over the Warriors yesterday that moved them within a win of their first Asean Basketball League crown.
Froilan Baguion knocked in a key triple to tie the game at 77-77 with 2 minutes and 56 seconds left before Duke Crews and Nick Fazekas pushed the Beermen ahead to stay in the closing minutes of Game 1 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
“We weren’t worried much about our offense, but we knew had to do a better job on defense,” said San Miguel coach Bobby Parks. “With the way we were playing, we were still only down by five at halftime, so I felt confident.”
Crews pumped in 22 points capped by a three-point play that put the Beermen up, 83-79, going into the final minutes.
Leo Avenido also came through with 21 points, nine in a second-quarter run that helped the Beermen trim a 14-point gap, 23-37, to only five, 41-46, at the break.
Fazekas had a double-double of 18 markers and 13 rebounds, while Chris Banchero, who initially had the tough task of defending Indonesia’s star guard Stanley Pringle, finished with 11.
“We decided to put Baguion at point and Banchero at 2 (shooting guard), since it’s hard trying to guard Pringle and playing point too,” said Parks. “We have the luxury of two point guards.”
The adjustment proved effective as Baguion also delivered nine assists.
Indonesia tried to forge an extra period but Mario Wuysang missed his three-point attempt in the dwindling seconds.
The Beermen go for a title sweep on the road next Saturday in Game 2 of the best-of-three series set at the Mahaka Square in Jakarta.
SAN MIGUEL BEER 86—Crews 22, Avenido 21, Fazekas 18, Banchero 11, Fajardo 7, Yap 4, Baguion 3, Fernandez 0, Luanzon 0, Gonzales 0, Dimaunahan 0.
INDONESIA 83—Brock 24, Pringle 21, Thomas 16, Salangsang 10, Cañada 7, Wuysang 5, Prihantono 0, Gunawan 0, Sitepu 0.
Quarters: 20-26, 41-46, 63-64, 86-83