The San Miguel Beermen defused what could have been another major losing streak, outgunning the Barako Bull Energy, to bring home a 102-91 victory, on Tuesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.
The two squads figured in a heated shootout and trade of baskets that lasted from start to end of the quarter. Powered by the towering Solomon Alabi, Barako Bull led for the earlier portion of the period, but San Miguel, bolstered by sharpshooter Alex Cabagnot and the explosive Arwind Santos, soon took over the driver’s seat. At the end of an exciting 12 minutes, the Beermen led by three, 26-23.
San Miguel opened the second quarter with a 7-0 rally, bolstered by big baskets from important Arizona Reid to take a 33-23 lead barely three minutes into the period. Former MVP Santos got much needed help from Reid and Doug Kramer, who helped extend the lead to as many as 15 points several times in the quarter. With Barako Bull unable to find a way to match the Beermen’s firepower, San Miguel still led by double digits at halftime, 57-46.
Barako Bull finally found their much needed spark in the third quarter. JC Intal exploded for eight points in a rally that cut the lead to two, 62-64, with five minutes left in the quarter. Intal’s former college teammate Doug Kramer responded with a basket on the other end, to help the Beermen pull away before they could lose the lead. The Energy stayed within striking distance for the remaining minutes of play, coming within one, 70-71, in the final minute. At the end of the quarter, the Beermen led 74-70.
The Energy nailed four straight points to open the fourth, pulling away for a 78-70 lead. With momentum back on their side, Barako Bull managed to bring the lead back to double digits, 82-72, with less than eight minutes left to play. Though they Beermen led by as many as fourteen in the next few minutes, the Energy showed no signs of faltering. The Bulls pushed further, with the last four minutes left to play, trimming the lead to eight after a bucket from Alabi, 78-86. But with barely over two minutes on the clock, SMB import Reid completed a three-point play to give San Miguel a much needed 91-80 lead.
A triple from Intal put some life into the Barako Bull campaign, with a trey that cut the lead to nine, 84-93, with a minute and a half remained. The Beermen however only needed to sink a couple more free throws to pull away and lead by double digits once again, with just a minute left to play. A triple from Marcio Lassiter to make a 98-87 lead for San Miguel with just 29 ticks left, iced the win for the Philippine Cup champions.
Arwind Santos was named Best Player of the Game with 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Solomon Alabi and JC Intal had 25 points each for Barako Bull. San Miguel improves to 2-6, after winning only their second game of the conference. While the Barako Bull slides down to 4-4.
Reid 34, Santos 22, Cabagnot 17, Kramer 14, Lassiter 5, Tubid 3, Lutz 3, Ross 2, Fajardo 2
Intal 25, Alabi 25, Marcelo 11, Pascual 10, Garcia 6, Mercado 4, Lanete 4, Hubalde 4, Paredes 2
Quarters: 26-23, 57-46, 74-70, 102-91