SMB returns with bang, snaps Meralco's hot start


By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--The Beermen are back, and in their return, they gave the Bolts their first loss.

San Miguel quickly made its presence felt in the PBA Commissioner's Cup after ending Meralco's hot streak, 99-92, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night.

The Beermen, fresh from winning the Philippine Cup title last month pulverized the Bolts' 15-point lead and turned the tides for good in the fourth quarter to begin their bid for a second straight championship.

Meralco was a team on a mission in the first half, limiting SMB to only 35 points in the first half while taking a lead as large as 15, 58-43, in the third quarter.

The Beermen, however, went on a 26-6 run that spanned to the early stages of the fourth to go up, 69-64.

The Bolts stayed in striking distance from the Beermen and even took the lead one more time, 72-71, with 8:09 left, but the Beermen outscored them, 24-11, from thereon to settle the outcome.

Junemar Fajardo had 24 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and one steal, while Alex Cabagnot added 23 points, four rebounds, nine assists, and two steals for SMB, which has now won four straight dating back to the Philippine Cup Finals.

Charles Rhodes had decent stats of 22 points, 12 rebounds, one assist, two blocks, and one steal in his PBA debut.

Jared Dillinger and Alex Stepheson each chipped in 21 markers for Meralco, whose winning streak ended at four. The latter also grabbed 26 boards.

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