San Miguel was badly aching for a win and Blackwater import Alex Stepheson gave the Beermen the much-needed opening.
With Stepheson out, SMB wasted little time in coming up with a 127-106 breakthrough victory Friday in the PBACommissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Charles Rhodes notched game-highs of 32 points and 19 rebounds while Marcio Lassiter included himself in the record books with a torrid fourth quarter in leading the Beermen’s charge to their first win in three games.
Stepheson reportedly flew home to the US Friday morning to have his unspecified medical condition attended to by his personal physician.
According to Silliman Sy, Blackwater’s representative to the PBA Board, Stepheson promised to return by Tuesday, well ahead of the Elite’s next game against NorthPort on Saturday.
Expectedly, SMB coach Leo Austria was thankful for the welcome development, which, admittedly, his team sorely needed.
“A lot would think this is an easy game because they have no import,” said Austria.
San Miguel 127 – Rhodes 32, Lassiter 29, Cabagnot 19, Fajardo 12, Pessumal 12, Rosser 7, Zamar 8, Ross 6, Standhardinger 2.
Blackwater 106 – Parks 23, Digregorio 18, Sumang 17, Al-Hussaini 11, Maliksi 11, Javier 6, Sena 5, Tratter 5, Cortez 4, Belo 2, Banal 2, Alolino 2, Jose 0, Desiderio 0.
Quarterscores: 29-21, 62-47, 90-74, 127-106.