Chris Banchero took over down the stretch and lifted San Miguel Beer past a pesky Chang Thailand, 77-73, in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) on Wednesday night at Nimibutr Stadium in Bangkok.
Banchero scored the Beermen’s last 14 points in the final five minutes to finish with a game-high 26 as San Miguel finally shook off a Thailand side that even took a 39-36 lead at halftime.
The Beermen, who climbed to a share of second at 3-2, showed more composure in the clutch unlike in last Friday’s homecourt loss against Indonesia where they blew a 10-point advantage in the last three minutes of regulation and dropped a 98-96 decision in overtime.
Gabe Freeman posted a double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds and Asi Taulava added 11 points in the Beermen’s road-game win.
The Slammers kept themselves in the game behind Michael Earl and Filipino import Jonathan Fernandez, who finished with a combined 29 points.
But Banchero’s clutch baskets eventually doomed the Slammers. He hit a triple with 1:12 minutes left and added three free throws inside the last 27 seconds.
The Slammers— mentored by Joe Bryant, the father of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers—dropped to 2-4.
On Saturday, the Beermen shoot for a fourth victory on the road against the Westports Malaysia Dragons at 3 p.m. at Maba Stadium in Kuala Lumpur. Jasmine W. Payo
SAN MIGUEL BEER 77—Banchero 26, Freeman 20, Taulava 11, Avenido 8, Menk 4, Hubalde 3, Williams 3, Luanzon 1, Rizada 1, Acuna 0.
CHANG THAILAND 73—Earl 16, Fernandez 13, Charles 12, Lertlaaokul 7, Baguion 7, Dawson 7, Kongkum 6, Apiromvilachai 5, Wanna 0, Ghogar 0, Klahan 0.
Quarters: 17-20, 36-39, 56-52, 77-73