SAN Miguel continued its winning ways last night at the expense of a gritty NLEX squad via a convincing 114-108 victory in the resumption of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The Beermen lodged themselves to the top spot with a 6-1 win-loss record while leaving the Road Warriors still without a win for their ninth straight loss -- one of the worst starts for the franchise -- in the midseason conference.
The win also formalized the Beermen’s entry to the playoffs.
Reinforcement Charles Rhodes did it again for San Miguel, leading the charge in offense and finished with 37 points and 19 rebounds.
Chris Ross, on the other hand, led the locals’ scoring and was three rebounds shy of completing a triple double performance.
Ross registered 15 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds and was later named best player of the game.
June Mar Fajardo – fresh from his stint with the Gilas squad in the concluded 2017 SEABA tournament – had 12 points and four rebounds.
“I was really worried of this game because of a long layoff,” Beermen coach Leo Austria said. “They caught us really flat. In the first quarter, makita mo sluggish kami.”
NLEX actually was off to a hot start, as it fielded in trade recruits Alex Mallari and JR Quinahan and sustained it for the first eight minutes of the first quarter, before the San Miguel embarked on backbreaking run to immediately turn the game around and build a 14-point lead after the period.
“We knew we couldn’t take them lightly because they have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” he added of the Road Warriors. “Good thing we were able to recover and dictate the tempo of the game.”
Wayne Chism led NLEX with 22 points, four boards, three assists, and three blocks.
Action shifts today in Legazpi City with Talk N Text facing Alaska in the lone Petron Saturday Special game at the Ibalong Centrum for Recreaton.
Game is set at 5 p.m.
The Tropang Texters will have Gilas players Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, and Roger Pogoy suit up owing to the significance of the match to the team’s bid to finish in the top two by the end of the eliminations.
San Miguel (114) -- Rhodes 37, Ross 15, Santos 13, Cabagnot 12, Lassiter 12, Fajardo 12, Espinas 8, Heruela 5, Reyes 0, Agovida 0.
NLEX (108) -- Chism 22, Al-Hussaini 18, Quinahan 12, Lastimosa 12, Mallari 11, Tiongson 10, Alas 9, Rios 7, Baracael 5, Soyud 2, Taulava 0, Ighalo 0.
Quarterscores: 36-22, 60-43, 89-73, 114-108.