ABL: San Miguel gets back at Saigon HeatBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Gabe Freeman towed San Miguel to a huge early lead as the Beermen avenged their loss to Saigon Heat with a lopsided 100-74 victory in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) Friday night at Ynares Sports Arena
Unlike last week’s meeting where San Miguel blew a double-digit edge against Saigon, the Beermen made sure to stay in full control after building a 20-point spread, 55-25, at the half.
“It was a blessing that we lost the last game because everyone was so pumped up,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria. “I’m happy that our players followed the game plan unlike last game where they were confident that we can beat them.”
The Beermen improved to third with a 2-1 record while snapping the three-game winning run of the Heat, who wound up sharing the top spot with idle Indonesia Warriors at 3-2.
Freeman spearheaded the Beermen’s early assault by pumping in 18 of his 21 points in the first half on top of nine rebounds before fouling out with still six minutes to go in the game.
Brian Williams and former PBA stars Asi Taulava and Eric Menk also helped San Miguel get the game in the bag early as the Beermen made the most out of their size advantage.
The Beermen held Saigon’s Filipino import Jai Reyes to only four points after the former Ateneo guard sizzled with 22 in the Heat’s upset win over the Beermen, 92-89, in Ho Chi Minh City last Saturday.
“He was our main concern,” Austria said of Reyes. “He was the one who killed us the last game.”
Williams had 18 points and Taulava, who scored on several easy putbacks, finished a rebound shy of a double-double with 14 points and nine boards in the Beermen’s first home game this season
Only Saigon’s American reinforcements finished in double figures with Dior Lowhorn topscoring with 29 and David Palmer adding 18 markers.
SAN MIGUEL BEER 100—Freeman 21, Williams 18, Taulava 14, Banchero 14, Avenido 10, Rizada 10, Menk 9, Doruelo 4, Acuña 0, Hubalde 0, Cawaling 0, Burtscher 0.
SAIGON 74—Lowhorn 29, Palmer 18, Tieu 9, Dehesa 6, Morrison 6, Reyes 4, Trien 2, To 0, Ngo 0, Ly 0.
Quarters: 25-20, 55-35, 80-53, 100-74