The disparity between being the top seed and being the seventh seed was emphasized during Game One
San Miguel Beermen fired on all cylinders right from the start to overwhelm the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 109-82, in a wire-to-wire victory in Game 1 of the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup Finals, Friday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The victory propelled the Beermen to a momentum-earning 1-0 lead in the race-to-four championship affair.
“I really don’t know what happened because I did not expect this kind of game — yung one-sided since the first quarter,” said a surprised SMB coach Leo Austria in the win.
“Naglilisik ang mga mata ng mga players ko because they know how important winning Game One is,” he added.
Usual suspects led SMB once more in Game 1’s victory. June Mar Fajardo and Chris Ross combined for 34 points, scoring 17 apiece. Fajardo grabbed eight boards, while Ross dished out eight assists in their respective statlines.
But aside from the starters, the bench also stepped up in the lopsided affair. Gabby Espinas finished with 16 markers on 7-of-10 shooting, while Ronald Tubid chipped in 11 of his own along with three boards.
“Tonight Gabby Espinas scored a lot of points and Ronald Tubid. Brian Heruela also defended well at yun yung hinihintay namin. The bench stepped up today,” Austria remarked.
The Beermen waxed hot right from the get-go, zooming to a 33-9 lead after a pair of Cabagnot charities in the opening period. Ginebra finally made their shots in the next frame, but SMB still sustained their rhythm and posted a wide 27-point gap, 54-27, as Ross scored off a lay-up with 5:15 on the clock.
SMB kept their streak in the second half. An Espinas three-point play sent them to their biggest lead, 85-49, with 3:52 left in the third canto. Ginebra was able to pluck points to close within 25, but they could not chip away the deficit further as SMB’s second unit continued the damage.
“This is just one game. Even if we win by one point, it’s just one game. I know coach Tim and they will come out stronger come Game Two,” warned Austria.
Chris Ellis led Ginebra with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Jervy Cruz and Mark Caguioa backed him up with 12 points apiece.
SMB shot an excellent 53 percent from the floor by hitting 42 of their 79 tries, with most of their shots accounted from the 28 assists they had. They also out-rebounded Ginebra, 49-45, and scored more points inside, 60-40. However, Ginebra’s bench played better, 63-42.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be this Sunday, February 26, 7:00 PM at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena, Quezon Province.
San Miguel (109) – Ross 17, Fajardo 17, Espinas 16, Cabagnot 16, Tubid 11, Santos 9, Lassiter 8, Agovida 7, Heruela 4, Reyes 2, De Ocampo 2, McCarthy 0, Van Opstal 0, Mabulac 0.
Ginebra (82) – Ellis 13, Caguioa 12, Cruz 12, Thompson 10, Taha 9, Tenorio 5, Aguilar 5, Mariano 4, Jamito 4, Devance 3, Mercado 2, Ferrer 2, Marcelo 1, De Guzman 0, Helterbrand 0.
Quarterscores: 35-12, 60-39, 89-56, 109-82.