San Miguel sends back Barako despite Dollard's 46 points
MANILA, Philippines – The Barako Bull Energy Cola was doing enough for the first 3 periods to stay within striking distance of the San Miguel Beermen on Saturday, March 22, in the PBA PLDT TVolution Commissioner's Cup.
But so much energy was sapped out of Barako that they couldn't deliver the finishing kick in the fourth. They crumbled during the final 5 minutes as San Miguel came away with their fourth victory, 106-100.
"Obviously a really exciting way to win," active consultant Todd Purves remarked.
"Somebody (in practice) mentioned Barako being a dangerous team and I just don't think that describes them anymore. They're a good basketball team. And dangerous implies you have to really be careful they'll sneak up on you and to me, they're a good basketball team.
"If you allow them to sneak up on you, you're just not prepared. And so we knew it was going to be a very hard game tonight and I think they're a much better team than their record states."
The Beermen were in control for most of the match but they hit a minor speed bump midway in the fourth as they couldn't put a leash on Barako import Josh Dollard, who just had so much fire in his eyes and was simply uncontrollable offensively.
At the 11-minute mark of the final frame, Dollard was already lying on the Smart Araneta Coliseum hardcourt wildly punching his chest in ecstasy after he hit one of his deep triples that cut San Miguel's 81-74 deficit to just two, 81-79.
A couple minutes after that Dollard drilled in another one of his 4 three-pointers to knot the count at 84. Right after that Mick Pennisi scored from long range as well to take the lead, 87-84, with 8:49 left.
San Miguel looked a little shaken up at that juncture as they missed even the gimmes.
Dollard, on the other hand, kept pounding and delivering, even scoring against 4 Beermen defenders at one point to make it a 91-90 Energy Cola advantage.
But San Miguel recovered their bearings with 4:58 remaining on a Marcio Lassiter go-ahead triple, which prompted a 7-0 blitz to put the Beermen permanently on top, 99-93. Arwind Santos and June Mar Fajardo each chipped in two points for that run as well as Barako sputtered their way to the finish line.
With 2:43 on the clock, Dollard was already huffing and puffing. His lay-up attempt had no more juice in it as it only grazed the rim before it was taken away by San Miguel.
Barako couldn't execute after that, save for a Pennisi trey with 52.9 ticks left that gave them a window of hope, 103-98. But it was quickly closed shut by San Miguel import Kevin Jones who sank a long bomb for the dagger, 106-98.
"I was not surprised they were able to make a run but I'm very pleased that we were able to continue to grind it out and come away with the win," Purves said.
As head coach Biboy Ravanes pointed out, domination on the boards won this game for San Miguel. They simply clobbered the Energy Cola, 54-36, on rebounding. But it was their advantage on the offensive glass that did the real damage, 22-10. Those 22 offensive boards translated to a whopping 27 second chance points.
San Miguel also remained hot from rainbow country as they matched their 15 triples from last game.
Dollard's 46 points, 15 rebounds, two dimes, one steal and one block were for naught as there wasn't much support from his teammates. Pennisi finished with 16 points while rookie Jeric Fortuna and Ronjay Buenafe each had 11 points.
Meanwhile, it was a much balanced scoring affair for San Miguel with Jones coughing up 28 points, 18 boards, 5 assists and two steals.
Lassiter hit 5-of-9 treys for his 19 points, while Santos was a near perfect two-of-3 from the arc with 16 points and 11 rebounds to his name. Fajardo added a double-double 15 points and 11 rebounds as well.
So far, the Beermen are looking sharp near the top of the standings with a 4-1 card as Barako fell to 1-4. But Purves made it clear there's more to come from them.
"I feel we have a long way to go. We have a large margin to get better as well."
San Miguel 106: Jones 28, Lasasiter 19, Santos 16, Fajardo 15, Hubalde 13, Mercado 7, Ross 3, Kramer 2, Maierhofer 0, Tubid 0.
Barako Bull 100: Dollard 46, Pennisi 16, Fortuna 11, Buenafe 11, Wilson 6, Lastimosa 4, Isip 2, Peña 2, Miranda 2, Jensen 0, Miller 0, Marcelo 0, Intal 0.
Quarters: 29-19; 51-43; 81-74; 106-100.