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Watson serves notice in debut as San Miguel stops Ginebra’s hot streak

Terrence Watson throws down the flush as he impresses in his debut with the San Miguel Beermen.
By Patrick Sutare

MANILA--Nearing the homestretch of the elimination round in the PBA Governors’ Cup, San Miguel has appeared to have shifted to its third gear as the crucial phase of its Grand Slam bid turns up to another level.

The Beermen are used to it, and they simply thrive into it time and again. After a hard-fought win against Rain or Shine last time out, the powerhouse squad banked on a sizeable separation in the first three quarters and a tested composure down the stretch to fend off the then streaking Barangay Ginebra next, 107-103, on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

SMB wanted nothing short of their high standards, especially with its pride and a rare feat going on the line. After a flat out underwhelming showing from Tarik Bridgeman, coach Leo Austria and his wards on the sidelines would not commit another reinforcement choice blunder.

The feared local group easily jived with its new import Terrence Watson who was ruthless from all corners, catching the Gin Kings off-guard and forced them to play the catch-up game for the majority of the joust.

Watson put up 28 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Beermen who escaped a late Ginebra fightback in the last quarter and move up closer to seizing out of four twice-to-beat edges in the quarterfinals at 5-3.

SMB allowed 38 points in the fourth quarter against its 20 after leading by 22 after three, 87-65.

Chris Ross picked up where he left off the previous outing as he continues to go on full offensive aggression approaching the tourney’s post-season play. A defensive prodigy, Ross was right on the money scoring wise for the second straight game, pouring in 20 points along with five assists, four rebounds and four steals.

Arwind Santos was on target as well, steering his team to the commanding advantage it had in the first half where he fired 16 of his 23 points. Alex Cabagnot, meanwhile, once again lived up to his tag as the ‘’crunch man’’ as he scored 11 of 16 points in the deciding frame.

Despite the loss, the Barangay stays atop of the ladder at 7-2, albeit sharing the spot with NLEX.

Japeth Aguilar led the team’s scoring with 18 as Justin Brownlee was held silent all night, scoring just 14 points which is his lowest output so far in the conference.

Follow him on Twitter: @patricksutare