San Miguel stays on top, blasts Blackwater
San Miguel rang in the new year with a bang and clamped down on Blackwater, 118-93, Friday in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup at Mall of Asia Arena.
June Mar Fajardo made mincemeat of the opposition, scattering 25 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and two blocks to keep the Beermen on top with a 6-1 record, formalizing their entry to the playoffs.
Gabby Espinas also had 22 markers and six boards off the bench, while Marcio Lassiter had 14 points on a 4-of-6 shooting from threes.
Alex Cabagnot also played despite his broken nose, finishing with 14 markers, nine rebounds, and three dimes in the victory.
“I think this is a good new year for us. We had a good start and I think this is what we’re waiting for,” said coach Leo Austria, as San Miguel clinched the first quarterfinals berth. “I hope we sustain what we’re doing.”
With the Beermen in sync, they cruised to a 29-point lead, 69-40, behind a pair of Fajardo freebies early in the third period, allowing Austria to field in his bench players for the majority of the second half.
Blackwater saw an opening with Raymond Aguilar and Roi Sumang staging a late comeback and trimming the deficit to as low as 11, 101-90, with 4:23 left. But San Miguel put its foot down behind Fajardo, Cabagnot, and Ross for its fifth straight win.
“With this kind of performance, we have to step up more. I think the next two games will be important for us to avoid any complications.”
The Beermen will brace for Ginebra on Sunday, Rain or Shine next Friday, and will wrap the eliminations up against GlobalPort and TNT.
Art dela Cruz topped Blackwater with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Aguilar had 15 markers, 10 coming in the fourth.
Mac Belo was held to just four points in the tiff, as the Elite shot 7-of-17 from the free throw line.
Blackwater sunk to sixth place with an even 4-4 slate.
SAN MIGUEL 118 – Fajardo 25, Espinas 22, Cabagnot 14, Lassiter 14, Santos 8, Reyes 8, Tubid 8, Van Opstal 6, Ross 4, Garcia 4, Agovida 3, Heruela 2, McCarthy 0, Mabulac 0.
BLACKWATER 93 – Dela Cruz 16, Aguilar 15, Pinto 12, Sumang 11, Buenafe 10, Forrester 7, Sena 6, Cervantes 4, Pascual 4, Belo 4, Miranda 2, Melano 2, Ababou 0, Banal 0.
Quarters: 37-21, 65-40, 91-66, 118-93.
Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.