San Miguel Beer could only settle for a fourth-place finish in the East Asia League Terrific 12 which came to a close Sunday following a close 91-89 loss against the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions in the battle for third place at the Tap Seac Multisport Pavilion.
The depleted Beermen played catch-up for most of the game but gave the Lions a big scare until the end as import Dezmine Wells’ desperate three-point attempt from the backcourt just fell short at the buzzer.
The victory earned for the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) ballclub the bronze medal and the $50,000 prize money that goes with it.
Wells, the team’s import in the season-ending PBA Governors Cup, led the way with 33 points, five rebounds, and four assists for the Beermen, who missed the services of big man Christian Standhardinger, who sat out the game owing to a hurting knee injury.
Standhardinger was in uniform but didn’t suit up, and instead joined injured teammates June Mar Fajardo and Marcio Lassiter at the San Miguel bench.
The Beermen fell in the battle for third place after absorbing a 111-89 beating at the hands of Lance Stephenson and the Liaoning Flying Leopards during the knockout semifinals on Saturday.
“It’s really hard to win games against those mighty teams with a lot of size,” admitted coach Leo Austria afterward.
“Maybe if Christian played with us (tonight), I think we might have finished third place.”
Still, the semifinal stint was the highest finish by one of the three PBA teams that competed in the week-long meet that included TnT Katropa and Blackwater.
Lester Prosper, the other San Miguel import, contributed with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds, Alex Cabagnot, playing back in form, added 15, while Kelly Nabong had 14, including 4-of-6 from three-point region.
Wells and Cabagnot willed the Beermen back from an 86-77 deficit late in the game. Wells’ three-pointer with 2.6 seconds left had San Miguel threatening for the last time at 91-89.
Chinese national team player Jinqiu Hu led the Lions with 31 points, while import Jalen Reynolds had a double-double of 22 points and 15 rebounds.
San Miguel (89) – Wells 33, Prosper 16, Cabagnot 15, Nabong 14, Ganuelas-Rosser 6, Pessumal 3, Santos 2, Ross 0, Romeo 0.
Zhejiang (91) – Hu 31, Reynolds 22, Jackson 18, Su 8, Zhu 5, Sun 4, Liu 2, Wu 1.
Quarterscores: 18-18, 24-37, 62-63, 89-91.
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