In a battle of the top and bottom seeded squads, the San Miguel Beermen pushed their winning run with a 115-83 victory over the struggling Blackwater Elites at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Tuesday afternoon.
Looking as the tremendous team they were during their last seven games, the Beermen went jumping right from the get-go, as they built an early separation against Blackwater. While the Beermen crashed the rebounding battle in the opening minutes, they built a 10-2 lead on their strong frontcourt trio. Two baskets were countered quickly with a 6-0 response from the Beermen helped SMB build their first double-digit lead in the next three minutes of action with Arizona Reid bullying his way down low.
The strong start by San Miguel’s starters kept pounding on the cellar-dwelling Blackwater team as the latter had a tough time finding their groove offensively. Marcus Cousins tried to salvage up some points for the Elites but Reid kept the strong start on hold for the Beermen as he outscored the entire Blackwater squad during the majority of the first quarter. SMB shot close to 55% while Blackwater had seven early turnovers thus, the first quarter blowout.
Off the bench, Ronald Tubid knocked down a triple but was quickly answered by five straight points by Blackwater. Cousins made a jumper with over 8 minutes to go in the first half to trim the lead down to 15 at 38-23. However, this was as the Elites would get.. The Beermen would then go to a 19-6 berserk in the next five minutes with their good defense prevailing while balanced offense built the cushion. Despite Blackwater scoring their best quarter during the second with 28 points, SMB still went on cruising up by 17 entering the halftime break.
The Beermen kept on clinging with the double-digit lead they had as the guard duo of Marcio Lassiter and Chris Ross provided good on-ball defense that led to transition points on their end. A couple of turnovers on the Beermen’s end enabled the perimeter shooting of Blackwater to chip into the lead. The Elites were able to cut the lead down to 10, but the Beermen had far enough more firepower late in the period to once again build on their gap. Reid became the go-to-guy in the stretch as he scored and found his bigs for inside points.
Similar to how they opened up the ball game, the Beermen showcased an offensive-filled last quarter as they blew the game wide open and halted any chance of a Blackwater comeback. With still having majority of their starters on the floor, SMB outscored the Elites by 19, 35-16 in the payoff period to put the exclamation mark in the game. They also outscored their opponents 19-3 to put the icing in the cake as the fourth quarter proved to be a 12-minute frame of garbage time, just waiting for the final score to be settled.
The Beermen’s beyond-the-arc sniping was splendid as they shot 13-of-31, 42% clip compared to the Elites 2-of-16 subpar performance. SMB also took care of the ball with 12 less turnovers, 11-23.
Reid had a big game, finishing in triple-double with 39 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. Fajardo added 20 points and two steals. Cousin and Heruela combined for 40 points, nearly half the total output of the Elites.
The Beermen closes out their elimination round games against the Alaska Aces on Saturday, 5pm at Davao while Blackwater guns for to snap its cold streak versus NLEX on Friday at the Big Dome.
San Miguel (115) – Reid 39, Fajardo 20, Lassiter 17, Tubid 13, Santos 9, Lutz 6, Reyes 5, Ross 2, Fortuna 2, Omolon 2, Cabagnot 0, Espinas 0, Semerad 0
Blackwater(83) – Cousin 25, Heruela 15, Cervantes 11, Reyes 7, Erram 6, Faundo 6, Gamalinda 4, Bulawan 3, Ballesteros 2, Laure 2, Celiz 2, Timberlake 0, Acuna 0
Quarters: 32-14, 59-42, 80-67, 115-83