San Miguel draws first blood against Alaska as Standhardinger returns
San Miguel seems to still have Alaska’s number in the playoffs coming away with a 92-79 victory in Game 1 of the best-of-five semifinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Beermen are 3-0 in the finals against the Aces for the past three years and are two wins away from the finals.
Rookie Christian Standhardinger also returned from his leg injury and had an immediate impact to the tune of nine points in the first half.
San Miguel first tried to break away in the second quarter, going on a 9-0 run Standhardinger capped off with a jumper for a 34-24 lead at the 9:48 mark.
That early scoring spurt was all the Beermen needed to hold off the Aces throughout the rest of the game.
“This is the most important game, the first game, because as much as possible we want to win this to dictate some of the tempo,” said Beermen head coach Leo Austria.
“But I know Alaska will do more because I think that’s not their game so we’re expecting more from them.”
San Miguel pushed the envelope further at the start of the third quarter with Marcio Lassiter giving the Beermen a 61-42 advantage to end a 9-1 run.
June Mar Fajardo led the Beermen with 17 points and nine rebounds while five of his teammates scored at least 10 points.
Alex Cabagnot had 15 points while Renaldo Balkman finished with a 13-point, 11-rebound double-double.
Marcio Lassiter and Arwind Santos had 12 points apiece for San Miguel while substitute big man Kelly Nabong had 11.
Diamon Simpson carried Alaska with 31 points and 24 rebounds while Vic Manuel finished with 16 points, the first time after 11 games he failed to score at least 20.
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