San Miguel clinches playoff berth at Blackwater’s expense

Delfin Dioquino
San Miguel clinches playoff berth at Blackwater’s expense
Seven players breach double figures for the Beermen, who have won 6 of their last 7 games

MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel Beer banked on a balanced scoring attack to repulse the upset-seeking Blackwater, 115-106, and punch its playoff ticket in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, July 4. 

Seven players finished in double figures as the Beermen bucked off a slow start to notch their 6th win in 10 games and become the 5th team to clinch a quarterfinals berth. 

Arwind Santos delivered solid numbers of 23 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists and two blocks while Marcio Lassiter fired 18 points to go with 6 assists that saw the Beermen swing a 6-point first-quarter deficit to an 8-point halftime lead. 

San Miguel trailed 28-34 after the maiden period before turning the tides and outscoring the Elite by 14 in the second quarter for a 57-49 advantage. The Beermen never looked back and extended their lead by as much as 24 points. 

“I’m happy with our team even though we had a bad start. Sakit ng ulo ko noong (I was bothered in the) first quarter e dahil (because) we had a slow start but the players were determined to formalize our entry into the quarterfinals,” said San Miguel head coach Leo Austria. 

Kelly Nabong had his best game on a San Miguel jersey with 13 points and 4 rebounds while Alex Cabagnot and Renaldo Balkman chipped in 12 points apiece and conjoined for 15 rebounds and 7 assists in the win. 

June Mar Fajardo added a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds and Brian Heruela finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists for the Beermen, who struggled at the start of the conference following a 0-3 start.

The Elite, who ended their campaign on a 1-10 card, were powered by Henry Walker’s 26 points and 12 rebounds. 

Mike DiGregorio backstopped Walker with 19 points while John Pinto still dazzled in the loss with a near-triple-double of 13 points, 8 assists and 6 boards.  

The Scores: 

San Miguel (115): Santos 23, Lassiter 18, Nabong 13, Balkman 12, Cabagnot 12, Fajardo 10, Heruela 10, Ross 7, Pessumal 6, Mamaril 2, Vigil 2, Rosser 0

Blackwater (106): Walker 26, Digregorio 19, Pinto 13, Zamar 11, Banal 11, Al-Hussaini 10, Jose 6, Sena 4, Javier 2, Palma 2, Cortez 2, Maliksi 0

Quarter scores: 28-34, 57-49, 84-70, 115-106

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.