What was expected to be a playoff-like atmosphere turned out otherwise as Bay Area dealt an incomplete San Miguel a harsh 113-87 beatdown to bounce back in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Sunday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Andrew Nicholson powered the Dragons with 39 points, 25 of which he made in the first half to steer his side to a 58-40 lead at the break — proving to be the start of a one-sided show that would see them lead by as many as 30 points.
The former NBA cager also tallied 12 rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block as the guest team redeemed itself in a big way after receiving a 111-93 mauling from Ginebra the last time out that stopped their four-game win streak.
“We learned from the loss which was nice to see. We got better against a quality team. Really happy with tonight’s performance,” said coach Brian Goorjian.
Bay Area improved to 5-1 at the expense of a Beermen side that missed six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, who’s out after undergoing throat surgery.
“They definitely missed him,” offered Goorjian of SMB not having the 6-foot-10 center, who will be out for four weeks. “But they’ve got enough there for us to feel good about beating a team of that quality without him.”
Balanced was the Dragons’ attack in the triumph. Hayden Blankley finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, Zhu Songwei and Kobey Lam produced 16 points apiece, while 7-foot-5 center Liu Chuanxing added 12 and 10.
Bay Area will look to build another winning streak when it takes on the struggling Terrafirma on Friday, October 21, 3 p.m. at the Philsports Arena.
CJ Perez led San Miguel with 19 points in the loss that saw the crew shoot just 37.2-percent from the field, including a 5-of-25 clip from beyond the arc.
Vic Manuel added 15 points in a performance that saw him dunk over Liu during the fourth quarter that earned cheers from the crowd, although it wasn’t enough to spark a comeback for the reigning champions.
Import Diamond Stone was hardly felt as he was held for a PBA career-low 11 points on 18 attempts, on top of 14 rebounds and five assists.
SMB (1-2) will take on Converge (2-2) next on Friday as well at 5:45, the start of a tough stretch that will see the team play four games in nine days.
Bay Area 113 – Nicholson 39, Blankley 17, Zhu 16, Lam 16, Liu 12, Reid 6, Song 3, Ju 2, Ewing 2, Zheng 0, Yang 0, Si 0, Liang 0.
San Miguel 87 – Perez 19, Manuel 15, Stone 11, Enciso 9, Tautuaa 9, Cruz 8, Lassiter 7, Brondial 4, Zamar 3, Ross 2, Herndon 0, Canete 0.
Quarterscores: 28-17, 58-40, 86-58, 113-87.