CHRIS Banchero sustained his sharp form while JR Cawaling emerged as the surprise package as San Miguel Beer hacked out a 57-52 victory over Indonesia in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) Friday night at Tennis Indoor Senayan in Jakarta.
The Beermen came back from a double-digit deficit in slipping past the defending champion Warriors with Banchero virtually taking over in the second half to finish with a game-high 19 points.
Cawaling, whose previous high was just eight points, knocked in nine of his 16 points from three-point range as he stepped up for the San Miguel squad that missed the services of three vital cogs.
The Beermen picked up their third straight triumph—their longest winning run yet this season—to stay second at 6-3 behind the 7-3 card of the Warriors.
Fiery import Gabe Freeman returned from a one-game suspension but didn’t see action due to a strain on his medial collateral ligament.
Reigning Most Valuable Player Leo Avenido (ankle injury) and Eric Menk (nasal bone injury) also missed the game but the Beermen still came out on top for the second time in three meetings this year between last season’s finalists.
Cawaling canned two free throws with two seconds left to seal the win after Indonesia threatened last at 55-52 as top guard Mario Wuysang nailed a triple.
Brian Williams, sidelined for two weeks by a knee injury, returned to action for the Beermen with 11 points and eight rebounds.
The Beermen, who trailed at 22-33, grabbed the lead for the first time after Banchero scored on a three-point play and a layup, 36-34, with three minutes left in the third period.
Back-to-back treys by Banchero and Cawaling put the Beermen on top by 10 points, 53-43.
Jeric Fortuna, who just wrapped up his collegiate stint as University of Santo Tomas’ point guard, debuted for the Beermen with five points and a couple of steals.
SAN MIGUEL BEER 57—Banchero 19, Cawaling 16, Williams 11, Fortuna 5, Rizada 3, Taulava 2, Thiele 1, Acuña 0, Hubalde 0, Burtscher 0,
INDONESIA 52—Daniels 16, Thomas 11, Wuysang 9, Sitepu 7, Smith J. 5, Cañada 2, Smith R. 2.
Quarters: 10-13, 19-25, 41-37, 57-52