THE San Miguel Beermen played with composure and repulsed the NLEX Road Warriors, 100-92, Friday in the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
The imposing presence of CJ Perez and Mo Tuatuaa and the late entry of big man JuneMar Fajardo helped the Beermen keep the Road Warriors at bay in the last period and allowed them to pose their second straight win.
“We told the boys that we should have a good start in order for us to have a good rhythm,” said SMB coach Leo Austria. “In previous conferences, you never witnessed the team in the first few games na nanalo kami. In fact, last conference, 0-2 agad kami. But this time, with this win, this will add some confidence to the team.”
Perez banged in 19 points for the Beermen, who assumed the solo lead after they took control in the fourth period.
The 6’2” Perez sank three of his last four points in the last 2:01, with his split freebie handing the Beermen a nine point cushion, 96-87.
Fajardo, who connected with just nine points and 14 rebounds, earlier gave San Miguel an eight-point edge with 3:33 left with his layup, 93-85.
“Down kami ng 12 early in the game. We just kept our composure,” said Perez.
The Beermen were finally out of trouble after they assumed a 10-point lead in the final 14 seconds with Chris Ross’ layup.
Marcio Lassiter had 18, including seven in the first period, where the Beermen struggled to get out of an eight-point deficit, 25-33.
The Beermen fought their way out of a 25-37 deficit in the second period and pulled even on Perez’s layup in the remaining 4:40 at 67-all.
Vic Manuel drilled in 14 points, with his driving shot in the final 4:04, shattering the game’s final deadlock.
The Beermen then began moving away with a trey from Jericho Cruz in the last 3:33 of the third, for a 72-67 count.
Don Trollano shot 21 points for the Road Warriors, who now have a 1-1 slate.
San Miguel 100 – Perez 19, Lassiter 18, Manuel 14, Ross 13, Cruz 10, Fajardo 9, Tautuaa 7, Brondial 6, Enciso 3, Pessumal 1, Herndon 0.
NLEX 92 – Trollano 21, Oftana 16, Chua 12, Alas 10, Quinahan 10, Semerad 6, Rosales 5, Varilla 5, Fonacier 3, Soyud 2, Ighalo 2, Miranda 0.
Quarters: 25-33; 50-53; 78-73; 100-92.