SMB survives Meralco scare for 2nd win


Saudi Gazette

MANILA — The San Miguel Beermen survived a furious end-game rally by the Meralco Bolts to score a 103-97 victory in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

With SMB ahead by 12 points with about two minutes left, the Bolts unleashed a 7-0 run to cut the defending champion’s lead to five, 102-97. New Meralco recruit KG Canaleta could have cut the lead further, but his three-point attempt went in and out with nine seconds left to preserve SMB’s second straight win, tying NLEX at the top of the standings.

Alex Cabagnot led the Beermen with a game-high 29 points on top of seven rebounds and four assists with zero turn-over in almost 40 minutes of play.

June Mar Fajardo was just as dominant with 26 points and nine boards in more than 37 minutes.

Marcio Lassiter finished with 18 points, which included four three-pointers, along with five rebounds and three assists. Von Pessumal tallied 11 markers and five boards off the bench. Chris Ross orchestrated the SMB offense, ending up with nine points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Arwind Santos added eight points and 10 boards.

Meralco suffered its first loss after opening its Philippine Cup campaign with a win over Blackwater last Friday.

Mike Tolomia led the Bolts with 21 points off the bench. Canaleta added 17, Reynel Hugnatan chipped in 16 while Chris Newsome and Garvo Lanete put in 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Phoenix 125, Kia 102

The Phoenix Fuel Masters finally snapped a 10-game losing streak dating back to the last Governors’ Cup as they routed the Kia Picanto, 125-102.

The win was a long time coming for the Fuel Masters whose last victory was against Alaska way back on July 22. It was also the first victory for Phoenix under new coach Louie Alas.

Phoenix thus bounced back from an opening game loss in the 2018 Philippine Cup on Dec. 17 against San Miguel Beer.

The Fuel Masters shackled Kia right from the get-go with their air-tight full-court press, causing the Picanto to commit a total of 27 turnovers.

Phoenix also waxed hot from the field, with eight players scoring in double digits led by JC Intal, Matthew Wright, and Justin Chua who scored 15 points apiece. Backcourt partners Gelo Alolino and RJ Jazul posted 13 points each while rookie Jason Perkins and Doug Kramer punched in 12 points apiece. Joseph Eriobu added 11 markers.

Former San Miguel Beer bench player Rashawn McCarthy led the Picanto with a game-high 22 points, seven boards, six assists, one steal, and one block, against six turnovers in 39 minutes that did not matter in the end. Eric Camson scored 15, Philip Paniamogan had 13 while Jackson Corpuz and Jay-R Reyes added 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Games Friday: Blackwater Elite (0-1) vs. Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (1-0) and TNT KaTropa Texters (0-1) vs. Alaska Aces (0-1).