The San Miguel Beer again relied on their stalwart defense to beat the NLEX Road Warriors, 79-76, Saturday, Nov. 8 in a PBA Philippine Cup road game in Tubod, Lanao Del Norte.
The Beermen started slow, falling behind to an early 10-point deficit, but slowly picked up the pace then held their ground in the endgame to stop NLEX and tally their fourth victory in five games.
The Beermen missed four free throws inside the final minute but made up for the lapses with a tough defense. Arwind Santos and Chris Ross both missed a pair of free throws.
Taulava had a chance to tie the game but missed badly, throwing up an air ball as NLEX just could not find an opening in the SMB defense. Jonas Villanueva was forced to throw up a desperation three-pointer at the buzzer which he missed badly.
The Beermen (4 wins, 1 loss) thus climbed to solo second place behind the unbeaten Alaska Aces (4-0). NLEX (2-3) dropped to eighth place.
The other teams include Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (3-1), the Meralco Bolts *(3-1), the Talk N Text Tropang Texters (3-2), the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (3-2), the GlobalPort Batang Pier (2-2), the Purefoods Star Hotshots (1-2), the Kia Sorento (1-4), the Blackwater Elite (0-4) and Barako Bull Energy Colas (0-4).
“I’m expecting this kind of a close game because I know NLEX is capable of beating any team in the PBA,” said San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria. “They (Road Warriors) gave us a really difficult time offensively and defensively but our players just kept their composure in the end game while we made some good plays and stops.”
Santos emerged as the game’s Best Player after finishing with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Marcio Lassiter led the Beermen with 22 points. Chris Lutz had 13, Ross added 12 and reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo had 11. Macmac Cardona led the Road Warriors with 19 while Taulava chipped in 13.
San Miguel Beer 79 – Marcio Lassiter 22, Chris Lutz 13, Chris Ross 12, Arwind Santos 12, June Mar Fajardo 11, Ronald Tubid 8, Sol Mercado 1 Ronald Pascual 0, Nelbert Omolon 0, David Semerad 0, Justin Chua 0.
NLEX Road Warriors 76 – Macmac Cardona 19, Asi Taulava 13, Aldrech Ramos 11, Niño Canaleta 10, Jonas Villanueva 8, Wynne Arboleda 7, Juneric Baloria 6, Rico Villanueva 2, Eric Camson 0. Mark Borboran 0, Jeckster Apinan 0.
Quarter scores: 18-21; 42-40; 59-64; 79-76.