San Miguel is just the latest to pile on Blackwater’s struggles, registering a wire-to-wire 107-88 victory for its first winning streak in the 2021-22 PBA Governors’ Cup, Saturday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
CJ Perez led the balanced attack with 21 points, five rebounds, four assists, and a steal without a turnover in 31 minutes as the Beermen collected their second straight win after starting the conference with twin losses.
“‘Yung first two games namin, ‘yun ang naging diperensya,” said San Miguel head coach Leo Austria. “Naging motivation ‘yun para sa team, dahil we cannot afford to lose another two consecutive games or else we will be at the bottom.”
Marcio Lassiter finished with 18 points, 13 of which he produced in the opening frame alone that saw SMB open the game with a 17-3 start, a microcosm of what came afterwards as they gave the Bossing their 23rd straight loss.
“It’s a good thing the players realized the importance of our last two games especially tonight because we do not want to be the victim of Blackwater,” said the multiple-time Coach of the Year.
Vic Manuel made 16 points off the bench. Fellow newcomer Simon Enciso had his best game with his new team so far with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
“That’s what we’re waiting for, ‘no. Because there are times in the practice na yung shooting streak niya makikita mo. He’s one of the key players na we’re hoping and relying na mag-step up,” Austria said of Enciso.
Terrence Romeo scored 13 points as well. Import Brandon Brown added 12 points and 14 rebounds as six players finished in double figures.
Dominant was San Miguel in the win even if June Mar Fajardo only scored seven. But the reigning six-time MVP hauled down 13 rebounds, and also collected three assists and two blocks to make his presence felt.
SMB still faced some resistance, though. Blackwater, after trailing by as many as 25 points in the second quarter, managed to come as close as 10, 74–84, after a Jong Baloria trey with 8:54 to go in the final frame.
Perez, though, converted a three-point play not long after. And that sparked the Beermen’s breakaway to end their foes once and for all.
“It reminded us of our last game against NorthPort. We were leading by 27 points and all of a sudden, it became closer. We don’t want that to happen. So happy, nagkaroon sila ng sense of urgency,” Austria said.
San Miguel will now look to stretch its streak to three when it faces the skidding Terrafirma Dyip on Sunday, December 26, at 4:00 p.m.
Blackwater, meanwhile, was led by Paul Desiderio with 16 points in the loss, their fourth straight in the season-ending tilt.
Rashawn McCarthy had 14 points. Barkley Ebona made 11 points, while Baloria added 10 markers as the locals picked up the slack after import Jaylen Bond only scored nine points. He collected 17 rebounds, however.
The injury-riddled Bossing will have another crack at ending their winless spell against Alaska on Wednesday, December 22, at 3:00 p.m.
San Miguel 107 – Perez 21, Lassiter 18, Manuel 16, Romeo 13, Enciso 13, Brown 12, Fajardo 7, Pessumal 4, Zamar 3, Tautuaa 0, Gotladera 0, Comboy 0, Sena 0.
Blackwater 88 – Desiderio 16, McCarthy 14, Ebona 11, Baloria 10, Bond 9, Escoto 8, Chauca 7, Washington 6, McAloney 5, Daquioag 2, Paras 0.
Quarterscores: 35-22, 64-44, 80-66, 107-88.