(Mall of Asia Arena)
4:30 p.m. -- Mahindra vs. Phoenix
6:45 p.m. -- Rain or Shine vs. Ginebra
SAN Miguel displayed its mastery in the endgame and posted a thrilling 93-88 victory over an undermanned Alaska squad in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.
The Beermen notched their second victory in the season-opening conference for a 2-1 card while leaving the Aces still winless after two starts.
June Mar Fajardo once again became the pillar of strength for San Miguel, finishing with a game-high 23 points and grabbed 22 rebounds, enough to earn the best player of the game honor.
Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter added 16 and 14 points, respectively.
The win also redeemed San Miguel’s bitter 85-92 loss over Phoenix last Nov. 30.
Alaska actually missed the services of Calvin Abueva and Sonny Thoss due to injuries while Vic Manuel and Ping Exciminiano sat out on team suspensions for playing in an unsanctioned event.
But it did not stop the Aces to bring out their best, as they gave the Beermen a hard time before losing steam in the end.
That fact was not lost on San Miguel coach Leo Austria.
“In my entire career, ito yung kinakatakutan ko,” said Austria. “Everybody expected us to win by a big margin, but it was a different story.”
“I told my players at the half that it’s for pride, not only a win, but it’s a matter of pride,” Austria said. “Dito, we have nothing to gain and everything to lose.”
San Miguel closed the game on a 10-3 run, including the last six points of the contest, to seal the win.
Alaska, even without several of their main weapons, surprisingly led by double figures in the first half thanks to stellar performances from JV Casio, who erupted for 16 points, and Jaypee Mendoza, who chipped in with eight points on perfect shooting from the field. Chris Banchero also dished out six assists over the first two periods.
In the first game, Meralco posted its first win in the season-opening conference via a convincing 106-93 victory over NLEX.
Meralco (106) -- Newsome 28, Daquioag 23, Hodge 12, Caram 11, Nabong 11, Yeo 7, Grey 6, chua 4, Al-Hussaini 2, Faundo 2, Amer 0, Bono 0, Hugnatan 0, Uyloan 0.
NLEX (93) -- Anthony 15, Camson 14, Lanete 14, Soyud 14, Alas 10, Lastimosa 10, Villanueva J. 7, Baracael 5, Guinto 4, Khobuntin 0, Monfort 0, Taulava 0.
Quarterscores: 21-25, 56-54, 79-77, 106-93.
San Miguel (93) -- Fajardo 23, Santos 16, Lassiter 14, Garcia 13, Espinas 12, Agovida 8, Tubid 2, McCarthy 2, Ross 2, Van Opstal 0.
Alaska (88) -- Casio 20, Dela Cruz 15, Mendoza 12, Cruz 11, Banchero 7, Galliguez 5, Jazul 5, Racal 5, Magat 5, Hontiveros 3.
Quarterscores: 16-22, 44-53, 70-72, 93-88.