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Mahindra continues dream run with upset of SMB


By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Only a handful may have foreseen a Mahindra victory against San Miguel.

But on Wednesday night, the almost unthinkable happened.

The Enforcers, with Head Coach Manny Pacquiao back, scored their third straight win in as many outings in the PBA Governors' Cup by repulsing the Beermen, 105-103, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Mahindra actually let a 12-point lead slip, but the team escaped as San Miguel failed to steal the victory at the death.

The Enforcers led, 94-82, with 7:05 left in the game, but the Beermen went on a 6-1 run to chop the lead to seven, 95-88, with 6:01 remaining.

After a John Pinto basket, San Miguel scored ten unanswered points to take a 98-97 lead with 3:53 to go.

James White gave Mahindra the lead back in the next play, and it was a seesaw battle from there on, ending with the team taking a 103-102 lead with 1:18 left.

Junemar Fajardo failed to give the Beermen the edge anew in the ensuing possession, and Chito Jaime scored two free throws to give the Enforcers some breathing room with 43.1 seconds on the clock.

Fajardo, after a Jaime foul, only made one of two free throws in the next play, but Alex Cabagnot picked LA Revilla's pass, giving San Miguel a chance to force overtime or even take the win.

AZ Reid opted to go for the win, but he missed a three-pointer and Revilla grabbed the rebound to save Mahindra's win.

White led the Enforcers with 34 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, and one steal, while Revilla quietly came close to a triple-double with eight points, seven rebounds, and six assists with one steal.

Despite Revilla's near-costly error in the end, Mahindra only had 14 turnovers all game long.

The Enforcers' win put to naught Reid's 43-point explosion as they forced him to seven of the Beermen's 23 errors in total. Fajardo and Chris Ross each tallied five errors.

Box Scores:

Mahindra 105-White 34, Canaleta 17, Taha 12, Agovida 10, Ramos 9, Revilla 8, Pinto 6, Yee 3, Guinto 2, Jaime 2, Zandi 2, Ballesteros 0, Digregorio 0, Aguilar 0

San Miguel 103-Reid 43, Cabagnot 15, Fajardo 13, Arana 11, Lassiter 10, Reyes 4, Tubid 3, Mabulac 2, Ross 2, David 0, De Ocampo 0, Heruela 0

Quarterscores: 28-27, 48-48, 81-74, 105-103

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno