The San Miguel Beermen drew first blood in their best-of-seven semifinal series with old foes Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters, after a 109-86 trampling of the MVP-owned franchise Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
San Miguel, the best defensive team in the elimination round held the Tropang Texters, the number one three-point shooting team, to a sub-par 6-of-23 shooting from the three-point line.
Talk ‘N Text opened the first quarter with a hot start, leading 10-3 in only the first three minutes of the period. The Beermen however went on a 10-2 run capped by a jumper from former MVP Arwind Santos to get their first taste of the lead, 13-12, with four minutes left on the clock. Powered by nine points from Ranidel De Ocampo in the first quarter alone, it was the Tropang Texters who exited the quarter with lead, 27-20.
Despite a stronger defensive showing from the Beermen from the get-go of the second quarter, the Tropang Texters continued to hold on to the higher ground. A trey from Santos with around three and a half minutes left on the clock forced the first deadlock of the quarter, 34-all. A five-point explosion from Chris Lutz followed, giving the Beermen a 39-34 lead. A minute later, a breakway slam from Santos was followed by commotion when Talk ‘N Text’s De Ocampo was accused of deliberately walking under Santos while he was still holding onto the rim, causing Santos to lose his balance while jumping back to the floor. De Ocampo was slapped with the flagrant 1, but not before an infuriated Santos could be calmed down. Santos was slapped with a technical foul for the language he used during the commotion. Following two more free throws to Santos’ name, San Miguel led 43-34, with two minutes left in the quarter. The Beermen sustained momentum for the remainder of the quarter, closing it out on a 10-2 run to lead by 17, 53-36, at the end of the half.
Powered by a fired-up Santos, the Beermen led by as many as 28 points, 68-40, early in the third quarter. The lead later ballooned to 30, 74-44, with around four minutes left on the clock, following a triple from Alex Cabagnot. San Miguel’s continued lockdown of the Tropang Texters prevented any sudden comeback from their old rivals, and at the end of the third quarter the Beermen led by a staggering 81-56.
Not even the re-entry of the greatest hero, the ‘Mighty Mouse’ Jimmy Alapag could provide the spark Talk ‘N Text needed. Dominant on both ends of the court, the Beermen led by as many as 33 in the quarter. Entering the final two minutes, the Beermen led by an unassailable 103-73. Another near-fracas broke out with a half a minute left on the clock, when veteran Danny Seigle of TNT and rookie David Semerad figured in a shoving match after finding themselves tangled up while boxing each other out. Both players were slapped with a flagrant 1. At the end of the quarter, San Miguel walked away with a 109-86 victory.
Reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo led the Beermen with 23 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. His frontcourt partner Santos had 21 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks of his own. De Ocampo led the Tropang Texters with 23 points off the bench.
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