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San Miguel survives undermanned Alaska

/ 08:10 PM December 03, 2016
PBA IMAGES

PBA IMAGES

Some of the protagonists may have been absent, but the Finals rematch between San Miguel and Alaska still lived up to its hype. And in the end, the Beermen reigned supreme again.

San Miguel scored a huge bounce back win, 93-88, over rival Aces in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup Saturday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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June Mar Fajardo towered anew with 23 points and 22 rebounds, while Arwind Santos had six of his 16 markers in the fourth period, to go with his eight boards, as the Beermen recovered from their shock defeat against Phoenix last Wednesday.

“I’m happy that June Mar and Arwind refused to lose,” said coach Leo Austria after what he described as one of the scariest games of his coaching career.

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“In my entire career, this is the game that I feared the most,” he said. “Everybody expected us to win by a big margin because some of their key players won’t play, but I’m happy that our players put their pride on the line and had that sense of urgency in the second half.”

With seven of Alaska’s key players absent due to injuries and suspensions, the Aces surprised the Beermen early, taking a 15-point lead, 42-27 before the defending champs made a thunderous fightback in the end.

Santos tied the game at 88 with an 18-foot jumper in the final minute, which was followed by RR Garcia sniping a crucial steal on the other end, leading to him shooting a pair of freebies to push San Miguel up, 90-88, with 23.9 left.

Carl Bryan Cruz was unable to puncture the ring on his two tries, as Marcio Lassiter and Chris Ross iced the game from the charity stripe.

Lassiter wound up with 14 points, six rebounds, and four assists, while Garcia did an amicable job with 13 markers and four dimes in lieu of the injured Alex Cabagnot (back).

San Miguel improved to 2-1, while keeping Alaska winless in two tries.

JVee Casio topped the Aces with 20 points, five rebounds, and four assists, while Tony dela Cruz got 15 markers and five boards in the loss.

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The scores:

SAN MIGUEL 93 – Fajardo 23, Santos 16, Lassiter 14, Garcia 13, Espinas 12, Agovida 8, Tubid 2, McCarthy 2, Ross 2, Van Opstal 0.

ALASKA 88 – Casio 20, Dela Cruz 15, Mendoza 12, Cruz 11, Banchero 7, Galliguez 5, Jazul 5, Racal 5, Magat 5, Hontiveros 3.

Quarters: 16-22, 44-53, 70-72, 93-88.

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TAGS: 2017 Philippine Cup, Alaska Aces, June Mar Fajardo, PBA, San Miguel Beermen
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