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Ending streaks: Beermen cruise for first victory and hand Bolts first loss

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With last conference’s championship hangover ending, the San Miguel Beermen returned to full form to play an impeccable outing in Cagayan de Oro as they breezed past the Meralco Bolts, 102-86, to finally barge into the win column on Saturday.

From the get-go, the Beermen were firing from all cylinders led by the inside presence of June Mar Fajardo and new acquisition Arizona Reid. However, the locals of Meralco also made noise during the opening frame as they were even able to establish a five-point lead late capped by two jumpers from John Ferriols and Sean Anthony.

Notwithstanding fatigue, Fajardo and Reid muscled their way to tie things up at 30 as both big men eluded the double teams and found their inside game working against the Bolts. With about seven minutes to play, Meralco reinforcement Josh Davis fell down and suffered an injury. Davis was rushed to the hospital as the Bolts were forced to play an all-Filipino team the rest of the way.

As the Bolts’ defense lacked interior coverage, the Beermen cruised for quick baskets inside and eventually took a 45-40 edge at the half. With Chris Ross playing a splendid start to the third, dishing out assists to his teammates, the Beermen launched the rally to pound the Bolts.

The Beermen continued their inside attack with their second stringers as Alex Cabagnot and Doug Kramer scored the baskets to hang on to the lead. By the last period, the rim seemed to widen for San Miguel, as multiple baskets enabled them to lead by as much as 21. San Miguel continued their defensive presence to make the necessary stops and halt any chance of a comeback by Meralco.

The win was also the first one by San Miguel in exactly a month when they cemented the All-Filipino Cup last January 21. The Beermen scored more in the paint, 54-46, and dished out more assists, 19-10. In addition, they shot at a better clip, 56% compared to the Bolts’ 46% and grabbed the lion’s share in the rebounding battle, 66-42.

The scores:

SAN MIGUEL 102 – Reid 29, Fajardo 21, Ross 16, Santos 12, Lutz 9, Kramer 8, Cabagnot 5, Lassiter 2, Reyes 0, Tubid 0, Omolon 0, Fortuna 0.

MERALCO 86 – David 23, Wilson 9, Hodge 9, Hugnatan 9, Anthony 8, Dillinger 6, Cortez 5, Sena 5, Davis 4, Ferriols 4, Reyes 2, Macapagal 2, Ildefonso 0, Atkins 0, Buenafe 0.

Quarters: 20-25, 45-40, 73-60, 102-86

Photo by Nuki Sabio

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