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Trigger-happy SMB bucks slow start, turns back Phoenix


After a horrid display in the first quarter, the San Miguel Beermen, despite having gone 14/50 from downtown, blasted the Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters, 121-109, in their penultimate elimination round game in the 2016 PBA Commissioners Cup, Sunday evening at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Fuel Masters, in a shocking start, opened the game with a huge 19 point lead over the Beermen, 25-6, in the first seven minutes of the game, import Kevinn Pinkney powered his team with nine points during that hot start, while JC Intal and Willie Wilson complemented their import’s output.

Slowly, the Beermen were able to settle as the Phoenix lead slowly evaporated in the second quarter. A jumper by Brian Huruela tied the game at 43-all, but the Fuel Masters were defiant as they held a solitary point lead, 55-54, going into the break after back-to-back conversions by Pinkneyy. Moreover, floor general Chris Ross was instrumental during the Beermen rally as he was able to locate the open man.

“Siguro alam naman natin gaano ka-importante yung game namin. In the first half they scared us,” Beermen head coach Leo Austria admitted. “They led by as much as 19 points. It was a good lesson for us kasi ung team na wala nang chance, they fought really hard in the first half.”

Behind leading Best Import of the Conference candidate Tyler Wilkerson, the Beermen surged to score 30 points in just nine minutes in the third canto, compared to just 16 by their opponents. A long triple by Marcio Lassiter during that rally gave SMB their first double-digit lead of the game, 84-73.

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Led by “the Fireball” Josh Urbiztondo, the Fuel Masters were able to cut the lead to seven, 102-95, with six minutes to go in the game. However, back-breaking triples by Lassiter spelled the doom for Phoenix as the lead ballooned to 15 once more, 115-100, with 2:47 remaining. With the game out of reach, Gary David made his Beermen debut with 1:45 remaining. He was able to drain a jumper seconds later, much to the delight of the San Miguel faithful.

“We never had an easy game dahil kami ang team to beat,” Austria shared after the game. “Good thing gumana ang four cylinders namin. That’s what I want from my starters”

Tyler Wilkerson was again spectacular, notching a monster double-double with 40 points and 19 boards. He was 12/27 from the field and knocked down four threes. Marcio Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot combined for 30 markers and seven threes. Glue guy Chris Ross was able to dish out 12 dimes as well.

For Phoenix, Pinkney played 30 minutes and was able to score 38 points and grab 11 boards in his final game. JC Intal added 13 markers, while Urbiztondo score ten off the bench in the loss.

The San Miguel Beermen (7-3) will play their final game of the elimination round on Friday, April 15 against rivals Tropang TNT at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. On the other hand, the Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters (3-8) are tied at last place in the standings with the Blackwater Elite and the Globalport Batang Pier.

The Scores:

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San Miguel (121) – Wilkerson 40, Cabagnot 16, Lassiter 14, Fajardo 12, Espinas 12, Ross 8, Santos 8, Heruela 4, Arana 3, David 2, Tubid 2, Lutz 0, Reyes 0, Semerad 0.

Phoenix (109) – Pinkney 38, Intal 14, Urbiztondo 10, Pennisi 8, Garcia 8, Monfort 6, Forrester 6, Lanete 4, Baracael 4, Wilson 3, Caperal 2, Miranda 2, Sorongon 2, Brondial 2, Knuttel 0.

Quarterscores: 22-32, 54-55, 87-78, 121-109.

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