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PBA: Vic Manuel fends off Phoenix rally, lifts San Miguel to verge of playoffs


Vic Manuel was indeed a thorn on the side of his old team as San Miguel edged out Phoenix Super LPG, 104-99, for its second consecutive win in the 2021-22 PBA Governors’ Cup, Wednesday evening at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

The ‘Muscle Man’ finished with a conference-high 22 points, including the Beermen’s last four as he dashed the Fuel Masters’ upset hopes.

He first put back Chris Ross’ missed free throw with 37.2 seconds left to make it an eight-point spread, then calmly made both of his own foul shots moments later as a response to Matthew Wright’s lay-up to put the opposition away.

The 34-year-old scored 17 of his points in the second half in a performance that saw him shoot 53-percent from the floor and haul down nine rebounds.

“That’s Vic Manuel e,” said head coach Leo Austria. “If you had noticed, si Vic Manuel when he was playing with the other team, in limited minutes, he can still score more than 20 points. We’re expecting him to do that in our team.”

Orlando Johnson top-scored for SMB with 23 points and nine rebounds in what could perhaps be his last game with the ball club, now that fellow NBA veteran Shabazz Muhammad is waiting in the wings as a possible replacement.

“We’re not talking about his game tonight whether he will play or not in the next game. Just give us some time because it’s a team decision if ever something happens sa changes ng lineup namin,” said Austria.

Marcio Lassiter fired 18 points on five triples, while June Mar Fajardo posted 13 markers and 15 boards in the victory that hiked their record to 5-3 to gain a share of the fourth spot of the team standings with Alaska.

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“Parang roller-coaster kami,” offered Austria. “Talo first two games, then nanalo ng tatlong sunod. Natalo uli, then back-to-back wins. So far so good, and you can see in the body language of the players, gustong-gusto nilang manalo.”

San Miguel will now look to make it three in a row against the 6-0 Magnolia in a rivalry battle on Sunday, 6:30 p.m., also at the Ynares Center.

Meanwhile, Matthew Wright had 24 points to pace Phoenix, who lost its second straight and is now tied with TNT at sixth with a 4-4 record.

Jason Perkins and import Dominique Sutton both had 20 for the Fuel Masters, who actually knocked within five after being down 12 with 3:18 to go but failed to trim it further as they missed crucial free throws.

Phoenix hopes to end its woes and improve its quarterfinal hopes when it takes on NorthPort (1-5) on Saturday at 6:30 also in Antipolo.

The Scores:

San Miguel 104 – Johnson 23, Manuel 22, Lassiter 18, Fajardo 13, Perez 9, Romeo 7, Ross 7, Tautuaa 3, Enciso 2, Brondial 0.

Phoenix 99 – Wright 24, Sutton 20, Perkins 20, Jazul 9, Chua 8, Garcia 6, Robles 4, Pascual 4, Manganti 2, Demusis 2, Rios 0.

Quarterscores: 25-30, 49-47, 79-71, 104-99.

All PBA games stream live on GigaPlay. Download it now on Android or IOS.

The second game of each playdate is also livestreamed on SMART Sports.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.


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