PBA Commissioner's Cup Semis: San Miguel takes Game 1 away from Alaska


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MANILA, Philippines – The San Miguel Beermen gave their import, Renaldo Balkman one of the best birthday gifts ever as they took Game 1 from Alaska, 92-79 on July 14, 2018 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

PBA Commissioner's Cup Semis: San Miguel takes Game 1 away from Alaska
A double-double for the birthday boy, Renaldo Balkman. 13 points, 11 boards and a 1-0 advantage over the Alaska Aces | Phto Credit: Hoops PH

The PBA Commissioner’s Cup Semifinals started tonight where the familiar teams Alaska Aces and San Miguel Beermen revived their classic rivalry.

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It was in Dumaguete where these squads first met this conference and it’s quite memorable for SMB import Renaldo Balkman who just arrived in the country when they faced the Aces. Despite Balkman’s impressive debut, Alaska sorely beat them by an inch.

The NBA veteran who was also celebrating his birthday hoped that their game against the same team who tormented them earlier this conference will change drastically because familiarity among the players has already been established.

So far and after a quarter, everything went on SMB’s side as they topped the Aces, 25-24.

Christian Standhardinger, the 2017 top pick got back in action after spending some time on the bench for a handful of game due to injury, showed the crowd what they missed when he was away as he dropped 5 points in under a minute at the start of the 2nd period.

San Miguel had a 10-point lead but it was brought down to just 2 through the efforts of Vic Manuel. “The Muscle Man” vastly improved his game and now statistically leads June Mar Fajardo in the Best Player of the Conference race.

The combination of June Mar Fajardo and Renaldo Balkman on the floor was virtually unstoppable. As the Aces had their scoring run, the SMB duo posted as a huge threat defensively and offensively to escalate their lead to double-digit, 52-41 at the end of the 1st half.

Just like Renaldo Balkman, Alaska’s reinforcement Diamon Simpson had a terrific night as well. Simpson already had 22 points and 12 rebounds at the beginning of the 3rd quarter.

Aside from Simpson, another Alaska player did a great job offensively. Simon Enciso became Diamon Simpson’s right hand as he contributed significant numbers for his team to catch up with the Beermen.

The Aces’ run in the third was not enough to downsize San Miguel, as the Beermen still had the lead after the quarter, 75-65.

The addition of Kelly Nabong to the SMB roster, gave more depth to its big man rotation. It gives June Mar Fajardo more time to rest while Christian Standhardinger or Kelly Nabong does the dirty job underneath the basket.

Midway of the the final quarter, San Miguel was able to preserve its dozen-point lead over Alaska.

Diamon Simpson had been doing all he can in this game. He had an outstanding 31-point game but Alaska needed more support from its locals. Simpson played number 5 on court but the three-headed monster centers of San Miguel made it harder for the Alaska import to completely dominate his position especially on the defensive side.

With a 13-point lead in their possession and just a minute left in the ballgame, the Beermen melted the clock until the final buzzer sounded. 92-79 is the score with SMB winning game number 1 convincingly.

REPLAY VIDEO: Alaska vs. San Miguel - Q1 | PBA Commissioner’s Cup 2018 (courtesy of YouTube/Sports5)


Both teams will just have a day of break to regroup and rearrange their gameplans for Game 2 on Monday, July 16 at 7pm.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express


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