The San Miguel Beermen are headed to the semifinals, after laying the smack down on the still winless Blackwater Elite, 91-62, Tuesday evening at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The first quarter saw the Beermen play excellent defense, holding the Elite to a dismal seven points in the first six minutes of the quarter to keep ahead of the race despite their own spotty shooting. A six-point flurry with four minutes left on the clock gave Blackwater the means to kick their campaign to life, but the Beermen pulled off a couple more great stops to keep the Elite at bay and hold on for a 19-13 edge at the end of the quarter.
The Beermen opened the second period with a 13-2 rally kicked off by a five-point spurt from Solomon Mercado to lead by as many as 17 points, 32-15, early in the quarter. Back-to-back triples from Marcio Lassiter at the six-minute mark gave the Beermen a 20-point lead and a score twice as big as Blackwater’s, 40-20. The Beermen led by as many as 24 in the quarter, but a late surge from Blackwater trimmed the lead to just 19, 50-31, at the end of the period. The Beermen held the Elite to 1-of-9 from the three-point line and to 28% total field goal shooting for the first half.
The Beermen once again were able to extend the lead early in the third quarter, leading by as many as 26, 60-34, their biggest at that point, just a little before the halfway mark. The Beermen continued to cause the Elite to misfire throughout the quarter, eventually closing the third with a commanding 70-45 edge.
Two free-throws from Ronald Tubid with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter gave San Miguel a 30-point lead, 81-51. The Beermen’s suffocating defense prevented the Elite from mounting any sort of comeback, and they left the floor with the score at 91-62.
Tubid was named Player of the Game following an 18-point, 5-rebound performance. Mercado chipped in 15 points. Eddie Laure, the only Blackwater player to score in double digits, had 10 points.
San Miguel, who held the league newcomers to 29.3% field goal shooting, improves to 9-2, joining the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters as part of the two teams who will be heading straight for the semifinals without having to go through the gauntlet that is the quarterfinals. Blackwater meanwhile will have to settle for a dismal 0-11 record in its first conference as a part of the PBA.