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De Ocampo carries Beermen in OT; drubs NLEX for solo first

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In a defensive-oriented duel, it was San Miguel’s energy, depth, and hustle in extension that powered them to an 88-80 win over the gritty NLEX Road Warriors, held at the Cuneta Astrodome Wednesday evening.

San Miguel put up the game’s opening run with a 12-2 spurt after the initial basket made by Asi Taulava off a putback. Offense came stagnant for the Road Warriors that led to an early technical from Taulava’s frustration. As for the Beermen, they installed a 10-point cushion after one quarter. Ronald Tubid was instrumental with his five straight points, including a corner triple to cap the opening frame.

San Miguel extended their lead to as high as 13 in the second quarter. NLEX responded with their aggression from their penetration, that led to free throw attempts. Jonas Villanueva scored six points in their counter, while Taulava’s reinsertion steered the Road Warriors’ rampage. In addition, they collapsed on SMB’s interior passing to deny touches from the bigs. By halftime, NLEX sliced the lead down to three, with Enciso’s free throws and a baseline three-point play by Borboran.

Borboran and Taulava made the opening buckets of the new half and give NLEX the taste of the lead. The Road Warriors also capitalized on Beermen’s miscues, while Jonas Villanueva aided his squad to slowly build a lead. However, Yancy De Ocampo stepped up to keep SMB in striking distance, as he ignited a 9-2 surge in the middle of the quarter that propelled the Beermen to a 59-56 lead heading into the final quarter.

A couple of fastbreak attemps for San Miguel increased their lead and threatened to pull away against NLEX. The Road Warriors responded with crucial hits by Taulava, Jonas Villanueva and Enciso to keep the score tight against the defending champions. The trading of baskets was showcased in the ensuing possessions until the two-minute mark wherein Fajardo and Taulava exchanged big-time post up scoring. With under a minute remaining, Asi fished for Fajardo’s sixth and final foul, while Jonas Villanueva hit a cruical three-ball with 13 ticks left to tie the game. On the other end, Alex Cabagnot missed a potential game-winner that sent the game to overtime.

Sans Fajardo, Yancy De Ocampo played his best game as a Beermen as he scored five straight points, including a three-point play while fouling out Taulava. Moreover, he located his teammates on the cut, and grabbing a good amount of rebounds on the other end of the floor. A triple by Arwind Santos in the final seconds sealed the deal for the Beermen, who are now sitting on top of the standings.

Both Alex Cabagnot and Yancy De Ocampo chipped in 17 points each for the Beermen. Cabagnot drained five triples in the game while De Ocampo grabbed 12 boards.

For the Road Warriors, Asi Taulava continued to defy age in scoring 20 points on a 50% clip from the field. Jonas Villanueva had 20 markers as well and was able to grab seven boards.

As a team, the Beermen outrebounded their opponents 54-45. Moreover, San Miguel drained two more triples than the Road Warriors that proved to be the difference in the game.

The San Miguel Beermen (1st, 8-1) will face the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters in a titanic showdown on Saturday, December 12 at 5:15pm while the NLEX Road Warriors (4-5) take on the Barangay Ginebra Kings the very next day at 5:15pm as well.

The Scores:
San Miguel Beer (88) – Cabagnot 17, De Ocampo 17, Tubid 14, Arana 9, Fajardo 9, Santos 9, Heruela 7, Reyes 4, Lutz 2, Omolon 0.
NLEX (80) – Taulava 20, J. Villanueva 20, Anthony 12, Borboran 10, E. Villanueva 8, Enciso 6, Lanete 2, Khobuntin 1, Reyes 1, Camson 0.
Quarterscores: 20-10, 37-34, 59-56, 78-78, 88-80.

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