Express forge knockout tiff Use hot start to whip Beermen | Inquirer Sports

Express forge knockout tiff Use hot start to whip Beermen

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 03:17 AM April 23, 2014

AIR21’S ferocious defense bottles up San Miguel gunner Marcio Lassiter in last night’s Game 2 at Smart Araneta Coliseum. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

MANILA, Philippines — Even Air21 couldn’t blow command for two straight games. Not even against powerhouse San Miguel Beer.

Starting out hot and finishing strong Tuesday night for a change, the Express posted a wire-to-wire 92-79 triumph over San Miguel Beer to drag their PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal matchup into a deciding game at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Sean Anthony and Wesley Witherspoon combined for all but six of the Express’ 29 fourth-quarter points, making sure that Air21 wouldn’t have a repeat of that meltdown last Saturday, when it blew a 17-point lead in the playoff frame to lose to the Beermen.

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“We’re able to sustain our run,” Air21 coach Franz Pumaren said.

“We had a terrible experience against them the last time around. Today, we played smart and kept our composure.”

Air21 opened up a 10-1 lead in the first three minutes and then took several 17-point leads before fending off the Beermen in the fourth and take this series to a KO match on Friday.

San Miguel, being the No. 2 seed, had a twice-to-beat advantage over the seventh-seeded Express in this round.

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Air21 will try to become just the 10th team in 73 matchups of this nature to overhaul that advantage. “I just hope that we can continue to do what we are capable of doing,” Pumaren said.

Anthony finished with 25 points, 12 in the fourth period, and Witherspoon added 18. Asi Taulava contributed 17, including back-to-back fallaway jumpers in the stretch that helped quell San Miguel’s rally.

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Kevin Jones led the Beermen with 34 points and 15 boards.

The scores:

First Game

AIR21 92—Anthony 25, Witherspoon 18, Taulava 17, Poligrates 11, Yeo 10, Ramos 5, Borboran 2, Villanueva 2, Cardona 2, Burtscher 0, Camson 0.

SAN MIGUEL BEER 79—Jones 34, Lutz 11, Santos 10, Ross 9, Fajardo 5, Mercado 5, Maierhofer 2, Lassiter 2, Hubalde 1, Duncil 0, Tubid 0, Kramer 0. 

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Quarters: 29-20, 45-34, 63-54, 92-79

TAGS: Air21 Express, Asi Taulava, Commissioner's Cup, PBA, San Miguel Beermen, Sean Anthony, Wesley Witherspoon

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