San Miguel displayed the form that made them the four-time defending champion and pulled off a lopsided 100-88 victory over elimination round top-notcher Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters to take Game 1 of the best-of-seven series, Saturday night at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
The Beermen actually started the game flat and even surrendered the 1st quarter to the Fuel Masters but once they got their bearings they tore the game wide open and even a strong 4th quarter run by their opponents couldn’t turn the tide.
Alex Cabagnot top-scored for the Beermen with 26 points spiked by 5 of 9 shooting from 3-point country. The 36-year old Fil-Am also had a team-high 7 assists and 3 steals in the series opener.
Arwind Santos finished with only 9 markers, all from long distance, but the last one was the dagger and it came just as the Fuel Masters came tantalizingly close at 89-82 after being down by as much as 24.
June Mar Fajado, who had another injury scare in the second period by falling to the floor face first, was held by the suffocating Phoenix defense to a conference low 9 points and even fouled out of the game late in the fourth.
Chris Ross and Marcio Lassiter contributed 14 points apiece while Christian Standhardinger finished with 12 points and 16 boards.
Matthew Wright paced the Fuel Masters with 22 points while Calvin Abueva narrowly missed a 20-20 with 18 points and 21 rebounds but shot a miserable 5 of 14 from the stripe.
Game 2 of the series is on Monday, April 15 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
San Miguel 100 – Cabagnot 26, Ross 14, Lassiter 14, Standhardinger 12, Santos 9, Fajardo 9, Tubid 6, Romeo 5, Pessumal 5, Rosser 0, Nabong 0.
Phoenix 88 – Wright 22, Abueva 18, Jazul 11, Mallari 11, Revilla 7, Perkins 6, Chua 5, Marcelo 4, Intal 3, Kramer 1, Mendoza 0, Dennison 0.
Quarterscores: 21-27, 49-39, 81-59, 100-88.