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SMBeermen escape F-Masters scare, create 3-team tie for 3rd

Terrence Watson of SMB is fouled by Phoenix Fuel's JC Intal while attempting a shot in a slice of PBA action. (Photo: PBA Media Bureau)  

By Ricky Manliguis

ANTIPOLO CITY—Another test, another cardiac win for San Miguel.

Surviving the challenge of another eliminated team, the Beermen crawled back from a grueling match-up to edge out Phoenix Petroleum, 109-107, in the main game of Wednesday action of the 2017 Oppo-PBA Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Center.

A neck-to-neck affair for majority of the match, the Grand Slam-seeking Beermen proved steadier down the stretch, with import Terrence Watson, June Mar Fajardo and Alex Cabagnot delivering the killer blows when it mattered most against the listless Fuel Masters.  

The win forced SMB to a three-team tie with idle NLEX Road Wariiors and TNT KaTropa at 7-3 for the race for the quarterfinal twice-to-beat incentive.

After Phoenix import Brandon Brown tied the ballgame at 100-all, Watson slotted back-to-back hits, a jumper and a lay-up, for a 104-100 SMB edge, 1:46 left in the game.

Fajardo then went perfect for the line off a Brown foul, before Cabagnot laid the finishing touches with three charities of his own.

“I realized that when you’re on top and you’re the team to beat, it’s really hard to win, especially when you’re against a team at the bottom,” SMB coach Leo Austria said, referring to the close wins against eliminated teams KIA Picanto and Phoenix.

Watson issued an all-around outing with 26 points and 11 rebounds to go along with five assists, three steals, and three blocks. Fajardo added a double-double 24 markers and 17 boards.

Cabagnot also chipped in 24, 19 coming from the second quarter where SMB battled back from a 13-point deficit early on. Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter combined for 28 markers on five triples.

Phoenix’s Governors’ Cup campaign came to an end as it dropped to a 2-9 slate. Brown topscored with 30 points and 17 boards, even as Jeff Chan and JC Intal followed suit with 18 and 12, respectively.
The scores:
San Miguel 109 – Watson 26, Fajardo 24, Cabagnot 24, Santos 15, Lassiter 13, Rosser 4, Espinas 3, Ross 0, Tubid 0.
Phoenix 107 – Brown 30, Chan 18, Intal 12, Eriobu 10, Alolino 9, W.WIlson 8, Dehesa 7, Wright 5, Lanete 4, Kramer 2, Jazul 2, J. Wilson 0, Hayes 0, Miranda 0, Ababou 0

Quarterscores: 23-28, 56-52, 86-77, 109-107

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