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San Miguel hands NLEX third straight loss in highly-charged affair


The San Miguel Beermen maintained their position at the top, as they bagged their fourth straight victory at the expense of the NLEX Road Warriors in a highly-physical encounter, 109-98, Friday night at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.

The Beermen remain the only unbeaten team in the 2018 Philippine Cup with a clean 4-0 card, while the Road Warriors lost their third straight outing and have dropped to 2-3.

“I know from the start that this will be an exciting game,” said San Miguel head coach Leo Austria. “With NLEX losing their last two games, we knew they will come out hard and it happened. They refused to lose because of their pride and experience.”

Arwind Santos led the Beermen with 26 points on five treys along with 13 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two blocks. June Mar Fajardo backed him up with 25 markers on 10-of-16 shooting and 16 caroms.

It was a see-saw affair between San Miguel and NLEX, until the former unloaded an 8-0 run — ended by Marcio Lassiter’s bucket — as it widened their slim two-point lead to 10, 95-85, with 4:24 remaining in the payoff period.

The Road Warriors seemingly lost steam afterwards, and the Beermen took advantage, as they expanded their lead to as much as 14, 103-89, after Santos’ three-pointer from the top of the key went in with just 2:21 left to play.

“I know na its not easy for us to beat NLEX. Before the game I know na last time we lost in this coliseum, we lost to NLEX,” said Austria, referring to their loss to the Road Warriors last 2015. “(Buti) Namarkahan na ng team namin.”

Marcio Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot scored 14 each for the Beermen, with the latter adding nine assists to his total. Von Pessumal, who was slapped with a flagrant foul for pushing Kiefer Ravena to the ground, chipped in 10 markers.

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Even after receiving a groin kick from NLEX’s Michael Miranda and after a tussle with Yeng Guiao due to reportedly hearing a racist remark from the coach late in the game, Chris Ross still made eight boards, four points and four dimes for SMB.

Ravena led NLEX with 15 points on 4-of-10 shooting along with six assists. Alex Mallari, Raul Soyud, and JR Quiñahan all scored 12 points apiece, while Miranda finished with a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds.

San Miguel will look to go 5-0 against the GlobalPort Batang Pier on January 24, Wednesday at 7:00 PM, while NLEX will aim to bounce back versus the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on January 26, Friday, at 4:30 PM. Both games are at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

San Miguel 109 — Santos 26, Fajardo 25, Cabagnot 14, Lassiter 14, Pessumal 10, Ganuelas-Rosser 6, De Ocampo 4, Ross 4, Heruela 2, Mamaril 2, Semerad 2.

NLEX 98 — Ravena 15, Mallari 12, Quiñahan 12, Soyud 12, Miranda 10, Tiongson 8, Fonacier 6, Uyloan 6, Al-Hussaini 5, Alas 5, Taulava 3, Baguio 2, Gotladera 2.

Quarterscores: 31-24, 49-58, 74-74, 109-98.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.


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