The real San Miguel Beer squad—the team that has established a dynasty in recent years—showed up on Sunday night.
After being blown to bits in Game 1 of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup title series, the Beermen were razor-sharp all game and bamboozled Barangay Ginebra, 134-109, to level the Finals at 1-1 and hush the pro-Gin Kings crowd at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We were so sad at what happened the last time,” San Miguel’s Leo Austria said minutes after getting 33 points from Alex Cabagnot and a combined 99 from five others.
The Game 2 result was the most comprehensive rout suffered by the Gin Kings from anyone in this conference.
“Our intensity tonight was 100 percent,” added Austria, a six-time champion. “We were 70 percent in Game 1, it was like a walk through for us because we allowed them to execute their plays. The way we played tonight (Sunday) was our [kind of] game.”
Cabagnot tossed in 22 of his total in the first half, 12 of them coming in the second period when the Beermen broke the Gin Kings’ collective backs.
Ginebra wasn’t able to come closer than 16 points the rest of the way.
“I think he used the word humiliating,” Ginebra’s Tim Cone said as he echoed how Austria felt after Ginebra’s 127-99 Game 1 win.
“It’s funny because we talked about how they can turn it around. I just don’t think we really believed they could.”
“They are who they are for a reason. That message was sent to us strong and clear,” Cone went on.
Ginebra didn’t play that bad in the first half, which closed out with the Beermen sitting on a 75-46 bubble. In fact, the Kings were 50 percent from the field.
But the Beermen were a lot better—61 percent from the field in the first two quarters and five players already in twin digits.
Import Justin Brownlee, who erupted for 42 points in the series opener, was the only player in double figures for Cone with 11.
“They really came back at us,” Cone said. “I feel so bad that I don’t want to talk to you guys. I tried to sneak out (of the venue).”
Govs’ Cup imports
Meanwhile, Allen Durham will be back for yet another tour of duty in the Governors’ Cup, setting out to win a third straight Best Import award in the season-ender.
More importantly, he will try to lead Meralco over the hump after two straight bridesmaid finishes.
Durham won the Best Import trophy on seasons that they lost to the Gin Kings and Justin Brownlee, including last year when they lost in Game 7.
Another former Best Import winner set for a return is Arizona Reid, who will suit up anew for the Beermen, whom he led to the 2015 championship.
Former Alaska import Romeo Travis will be playing for Magnolia this time.
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