The San Miguel Beermen ended the elimination round of their Philippine Cup campaign on a winning note, manhandling the win-starved Alaska Aces 114-96, Sunday evening at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The win improved the record of the defending champions to 7-4, good for a tie for 4th spot with the idle TNT KaTropa. The Beermen, however, will slide down to 5th as they lost to the KaTropa last January 27 to the tune of 104-93.
The final ranking, however, will depend on Brgy. Ginebra which is currently at 5-3 and will still play 2 more games.
The Beermen were led by the hot-shooting Alex Cabagnot who finished with a game-high 31 markers. Also making significant contributions were the returning Christian Standhardinger and team captain Arwind Santos.
Despite the rousing win, Santos, who scored 17 points on the strength of 5 of 15 shooting from long distance, was far from satisfied.
“Nagpapasalamat kami na nanalo kami pero hindi yun ang goal namin eh. Alam ng bawat isa kung ano ang goal namin lalo na yung management – ‘yung 5th championship.”
The 37-year old product of FEU stressed the need for the team to further improve on its defense in order to successfully defend the title.
“Alam namin na talagang lahat sila nagre-ready at pinipigilan na kunin yun. Sana sa mga susunod na mga games namin, mas lalo pa namin pag-aralan yung mga plays namin at kung paano namin aayusin yung depensa namin. Kanina, maganda eh. Kung ma-maintain namin ‘yun, mahihirapan kami talunin,” said Santos.
The 2013 PBA Most Valuable Player for now is looking forward to the 2019 PBA All Star Game where he was a selected as a reserve for the North squad.