PBA: SMB extinguishes Meralco, 102-86; Locks semis duel vs. ROS

MANILA, Philippines – The San Miguel Beermen (SMB) needed one more game to book the 4th and final playoff spot after extinguishing the fiery Meralco Bolts, 102-86 on Monday, June 29, 2015 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.

Junmar Fajardo muscles his way up againnst Reynel Hugnatan and Cliff Hodge | Photo: Philstar.com

Just like their first playoff meeting, Junmar Fajardo placed San Miguel Beermen’s first 2 points on the score board. The only thing that he didn’t wish to happen was to lose 2 straight games against Meralco Bolts and finally bid good bye to the 4th and last playoff spot.

It was not only “The Kraken” who was afraid to lose back-to-back. All of his fellow starters were focused on booking the last playoff spot and gave their fair share as early in the first 2 minutes of the opening quarter. Coach Leo’s starting five all scored at the 7-minute mark of 1st quarter.

Andre Emmett on the other hand, was very enthusiastic to win and eliminate the Beermen notched back-to-back, 2 for 2 three pointers to close the gap within just 4 points with 4 minutes remaining on the quarter clock.

Arwind Santos who was missing in action last game was on fire at the 3-point lane with 3 long bombs before the opening quarter ended. SMB was up by a dozen, 30-18.

Kelly Nabong who was the Best Player of the Game last Friday looked to duplicate his A+ performance by starting hot in the opening of quarter number 2 with an and one plus a put back for a quick 5 points.

The Meralco Bolts outrebounded the Beermen 7-1 in the early phase of the second period and a 13-2 run to trim the lead down to just 3 points. Andre Emmett, the league’s 2nd best scorer in this conference had 12 points with over 7 minutes until the half time break.

New Gilas Head Coach Tab Baldwin was spotted present on the bleachers scouting for players in his wish list. It was earlier reported that Coach Baldwin has released his 25-man pool of players after the FIBA Asia Championships Group draw. Cliff Hodge, Jarred Dillinger, Gary David and Junmar Fajardo are all included in the American-Tactician’s white list.

In order to avoid another game fiasco, San Miguel’s import AZ Reid and Arwind Santos worked their way and ensured an SMB 49-42 lead before the 15-minute half time break. Reid and Santos had 13 and 15 points respectively after the first half of the do-or-die Monday.

3rd quarter was a good start for both teams as they exchanged baskets. Reid, Santos and Fajardo were in double figures for San Miguel while Emmett, David and Hugnatan had their own versions of two-digit numbers for Meralco.

Meralco reinforcement Andre Emmett continued to multiply his numbers in the penultimate quarter. The Bolts had an 8-0 run courtesy of their scoring machine import. While Coach Leo Austria was struggling on how to stop Emmett from scoring, Meralco locals were added to his woes as Cliff Hodge and Reynel Hugnatan joined their import in scoring and were able to bring the lead down to just 2 points, 67-65 entering to the 4th and final quarter.

Bad start for Coach Norman Black as Simon Atkins was called for a technical foul with just 5 seconds after the 4th quarter began. Ronald Tubid made the technical foul shot and buried a three right after it.

Crunch time for both teams. All players were seizing every moment for there will be no more tomorrow.

San Miguel and Meralco traded three pointers on the 8th minute mark of the 4th: Marcio Lassiter had a back-to-back while Andre Emmett and Mike Cortez both fired back.

Outrebounded at the first half, “The Kraken” was unleashed to get all the offensive boards in the final quarter and converted them into baskets. SMB was revived and imposed a 14-point lead, 88-74 with less than 4 minutes remaining in the ball game. Junmar Fajardo tallied a double-double: 22 points and 16 rebounds and won the Best Player of the Game Award.

Refused to go home, Gary David tried to bounce back and managed to cut the lead into a single digit with a three and foul shots.

Ronald Tubid brought back SMB’s double-digit lead seconded by Marcio Lassiter with their 2 triples as the 2-minute warning echoed in the entire coliseum.

The Beermen ended Meralco’s conference run with a 102-86 win. San Miguel will face Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters in the semis while the Alaska Aces and Purefoods Star Hotshots lock horns on Wednesday, July 1st at Smart Araneta Coliseum.


SAN MIGUEL 102 – Reid 29, Fajardo 22, Lassiter 17, Santos 15, Tubid 8, Espinas 5, Ross 2, Cabagnot 2, Lutz 2, Semirad 0

MERALCO 86 – Emmett 28, Hugnatan 17, David 16, Cortez 7, Hodge 5, Dillinger 5, Nabong 5, Anthony 3, Caram 0, Ando 0, Atkins 0, Guevarra 0

- D' Waterboy/TheSummitExpress

Previous Post Next Post