Defending champion San Miguel bucked a slow start, picked things up in the 2nd half and cruised to a 114-96 victory over struggling Alaska to formally secure its place in the quarterfinal round of the PBA Philippine Cup, Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Down by 10 points early in the contest, the Beermen turned things around at the start of the 3rd period and sustained their attack up until the penultimate quarter to close out the elimination round with 7 seven wins against four defeats.
The victory assured the Beermen of a spot in the top 6 in the quarterfinal round wherein the 3rd placer will take on the 6th seed while the 4th and 5th ranked teams figure in a best-of-three series.
The top 2 seeds hold a twice-to-beat advantage over the 7th and 8th seeds.
“I’m happy for the players they still felt that sense of urgency to win. We don’t want to get to the quarterfinals coming from a loss,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.
“I’m happy for both Standhardinger and Alex Cabagnot. Standhardinger played really well despite only two scrimmages with us. Cabagnot finally hit it big again after a series of not-so-good games,” he added.
Alex Cabagnot led the Beermen with 31 markers while the returning Christian Standhardinger added 23.
Terrence Romeo missed the game due to a case of food poisoning.
Chris Banchero topscored for the Aces with 22 points while Carl Bryan Cruz, Sonny Thoss, Noy Baclao and Jeron Teng turned in double-digit outputs.
San Miguel 114 – Cabagnot 31, Standhardinger 23, Santos 17, Pessumal 14, Fajardo 13, Ross 10, Lassiter 4, Rosser 2, Zamar 0, Mamaril 0, Tubid 0, Vigil 0, Nabong 0.
Alaska 96 – Banchero 22, Cruz 13, Thoss 12, Baclao 12, Teng 11, Potts 6, Pascual 6, Casio 4, Enciso 2, Exciminiano 2, Galliguez 2, Racal 2, Ayaay 2, Babilonia 0.
Quarterscores: 21-27, 45-50, 79-71, 114-96.