San Miguel Beer needed everything in its arsenal—and some key breaks in the stretch—to survive a gritty Magnolia side, 90-89, late Friday night in the PBA Governors’ Cup at Mall of Asia Arena.
Dez Wells coasted to the basket to peg the final count, but that was at the 2:11 mark, with the Beermen milking their defense to log their fourth straight victory in as many games.
“The players refused to lose and they know the importance of this game,” said Leo Austria, coach of this season’s Grand Slam seekers who faced their first stern test in the conference’s defending champions.
Magnolia, which trailed huge early but fought back to make a game out of it, suffered two unlucky breaks in the fourth quarter. Import Romeo Travis hurt his leg after colliding with Chris Ross with 4:44 left to play and Paul Lee lost a tooth after banging his head hard on the floor with 2:53 remaining.
Wells finished with 33 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals to lead the Beermen while June Mar Fajardo added 16 points and 16 boards.
Travis had 31 points, 12 rebounds and six assists but did not return for the Hotshots after his injury.
Columbian whipped Blackwater, 102-90, in the earlier game behind a trio of 20-plus scorers.
“We were the hungrier team, the team that really wanted to play,” said Columbian rookie CJ Perez—who finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks—in Filipino.
Rashawn McCarthy finished with 25 points—hitting 7-of-13 from beyond the arc—to go with five rebounds and four steals. Khapri Alston had 24 points, 20 rebounds and three steals.