The San Miguel Beermen got the first victory of their best-of-seven semi-final series versus the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters, 100-88.
Alex Cabagnot led the Beermen attack with his 26 points and 7 assists which are enough for him to be named as the “Bida Player of the Game”.
In their series opener, coach Louie Alas picked his poison and that’s to shutdown June Mar Fajardo and it looks like they were successful on their goal.
Fajardo got clamped down and only managed to deliver 9 points and 9 rebounds in the game. The five-time MVP was also whistled his last foul late in the fourth quarter.
While Fajardo had a hard time doing what he usually does on the post because of their opponent’s defense, the other players of San Miguel stepped up.
Beermen’s led ballooned to 24 points in the third quarter. Not only in offense but San Miguel also displayed their tenacious defense.
However in the fourth quarter, Phoenix’s trademark on defense started to operate. A surging 13-0 blast was the answer of the Fuel Masters and the Beermen big lead started to cut into single-digit points.
Alex Mallari’s drive to the basket puts Phoenix to a striking distance as San Miguel advantage got lowered to 7 points, 82-89.
Fuel Masters had a chance to make it even lower but Calvin Abueva struggle from the free-throw line was real.
“The Beast” was 5-of-15 from the charity stripe most of his trips to shoot freebies happen in the last quarter.
The Beermen took advantage of that Phoenix missed opportunity to tie or even take control of the game as Arwind Santos and Alex Cabagnot responded with their own baskets.
“I’m really thankful because coming into the game I was really worried,” said San Miguel head coach Leo Austria.
San Miguel vs Phoenix Box Score
Quarters: 21-27 | 49-39 | 81-59 | 100-88
Beermen (100) – Cabagnot 26, Ross 14, Lassiter 14, Standhardinger 12, Santos 9, Fajardo 9, Tubid 6, Romeo 5, Pessumal 5
Fuel Masters (88) – Wright 22, Abueva 18, Jazul 11, Mallari 11, Revilla 7, Perkins 6, Chua 5, Marcelo 4, Intal 3, Kramer 1