Beermen on target | Inquirer Sports

Beermen on target

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 09:19 PM February 08, 2017



Top seed San Miguel Beer unleashed a deadly inside-out game for a masterful win over TNT KaTropa, 111-98, and take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-7 semifinals series in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Beermen shot the lights out, making 16 of their 26 three-point attempts with Marcio Lassiter hitting four and Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos sinking three each.

Once San Miguel’s outside game, the Beermen had little difficulty raiding the Texters’ interior defense.


With the TNT staying within close-out distance of San Miguel’s shooters, big men June Mar Fajardo and Gabby Espinas went to work down low. Fajardo got going in the second half and finished with 21 points and eight rebounds while Espinas added 13 points off the bench.


“I’m happy with our first win because a first win is very important in any series,” said Beermen head coach Leo Austria, whose team pushed its winning run to 11 games.

“I was worried at the start of the game because we had won 10 consecutive games and I know that sooner or later we’re going to lose,” said Austria. “But we’re not after our winning streak; we’re out there to win. Time will come that we’re going to lose but I know the players won’t give anything up.”

Jayson Castro and Kelly Williams shouldered the fight for the Texters, who fell behind by as many as 18 early in the second quarter. The duo moved TNT to within 95-88, but Cabagnot responded with five unanswered points to make it, 100-88, 5:25 left.

“[The Beermen] understand how to win and I told them they have the freedom to do whatever they want as long as they have control of the game,” said Austria. “They’re playing like an orchestra. They already know their roles.”

Cabagnot finished with 20 points, 15 of which came in the second half, and six rebounds.

Castro had a game-high 27 points while Williams tallied 24 points for TNT, which struggled from beyond the arc, missing several good looks from there.


San Miguel got off to a quick 7-0 lead before taking a 34-16 advantage in the opening minute of the second quarter. Santos had 15 points and six rebounds while six other Beermen scored at least nine points.

Game 2 is on Friday, 7 p.m., at Mall of Asia Arena.

Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra clashes with Star in Game 1 of their half of the Final Four series Thursday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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Game starts at 7 p.m.

TAGS: PBA, San Miguel Beermen

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