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SMB squeaks past Meralco in high-fueled joust

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Tiebreaker Times SMB squeaks past Meralco in high-fueled joust Basketball News PBA  San Miguel Beermen PBA Season 41 Norman Black Mike Singletary Meralco Bolts Leo Austria June Mar Fajardo Jimmy Alapag Chris Newsome Allen Durham Alex Cabagnot 2016 PBA Governors Cup

An offensive-filled battle went the way of the San Miguel Beermen on the nightcap of Wednesday’s PBA doubleheader over the Meralco Bolts, 110-106, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The win lifted San Miguel to a 6-2 record, tying the slate of Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel and Mahindra Enforcers. The three-teams are a game behind league-leading TNT KaTropa.

June Mar Fajardo led the Beermen offensively with 24 points, 10 rebounds on 8/16 shooting from the floor. Temporary import replacement Michael Singletary posted a monstrous 21-point, 20-rebound effort in his substitute game, filling in for injured AZ Reid.

Meralco’s last scare of the game came in the final three minutes, wherein Chris Newsome and Allen Durham teamed up to bring their team within striking distance at 101-99. However, the trio of Cabagnot, Fajardo and Singletary were all instrumental for the defending champs down the stretch.

Alex Cabagnot came up huge in the fourth, including an important three-pointer to answer the run by the Bolts that made it a two-point game.

“We played well today, not great. But I’m thankful that we won,” the Crunchman said.

He also was pleased with the way Singletary played.

“(Mike) played well despite being jet-lagged and problems on external things,” he added.

As for coach Leo Austria, he stressed that the stints of imports in the league is always on a performance-basis and added that he’ll take whatever that leads them to a win.

“Well si AZ(Reid) is still on our team, but he cannot practice due to his situation,” he said. “I’m glad we worked hard on offense and in defense.”

This closely-contested game yielded nine three-pointers each from both teams. However, San Miguel won the striking statline of the night with a 31-of-44 clip from the free throw line, a wide disparity compared to Meralco’s 9-for-14 shooting.

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SMB (T-2nd, 6-2) will next face the top-seeded TNT KaTropa (1st, 7-1) on Saturday in Batangas. On the other hand, Meralco (5th, 5-4) will next face the Star Hotshots (11th, 1-6) on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Scores:

San Miguel (110) – Fajardo 24, Singletary 21, Santos 19, Cabagnot 18, David 13, Ross 9, Lassiter 4, De Ocampo 2, Heruela 0, Reyes 0, Tubid 0.

Meralco (106) – Durham 34, Alapag 14, Newsome 12, Faundo 10, Hodge 10, Nabog 10, Amer 7, Hugnatan 6, Dillinger 3, Buenafe 0, Uyloan 0.

Quarterscores: 25-24, 55-44, 81-79, 110-106.

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