San Miguel clinches playoff berth after escaping Meralco
MANILA, Philippines – June Mar Fajardo had a double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds as the San Miguel Beermen thwarted the Meralco Bolts, 110-106, in the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup on Wednesday, August 31, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
San Miguel formally clinched a playoff berth with a 6-2 record in a 3-way tie for second place along with Ginebra and Mahindra.
Arwind Santos finished with 19 points and 5 rebounds while Alex Cabagnot and Gary David added 18 and 13 points, respectively, for the Beermen, who led 57-44 late in the second quarter and had to fend off the Bolts up until the last minute.
"I'm really expecting this kind of game. We knew this would be a hard game because both teams really want to get into the top 4," said head coach Leo Austria. "I have to give credit to all the players, they really worked hard."
San Miguel brought in temporary import Michael Singletary in lieu of injured Arizona Reid (Achilles) and the former Barako Bull reinforcement immediately logged close to 44 minutes of play. He scored 21 points, pulled down 20 rebounds, and dished out 5 assists.
"I think Singletary is doing his best to help us because he knows there is pressure on him coming in when we're 5-2 and he knows this team won 3 of the last 5 championships," Austria said in a mix of Filipino and English.
Austria did not specify a timetable for Reid's return but said "the door is still open for anybody" as long as they are still competing in the conference.
San Miguel will be adding an Asian import and is expecting Jordanian Mahmood Abdin to arrive on Thursday, September 1. Austria said Abdin was "highly recommended" by Rajko Toroman, who coaches Abdin in the Jordanian national team.
Abdin is expected to provide more firepower and stability in the wings for the Beermen.
Meralco's two-game winning run ended against San Miguel as they've now lost 4 in 9 games.
Allen Durham paced the Bolts with 34 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists, and two steals, while Jimmy Alapag contributed 14 markers, 5 boards, and 3 dimes.
Chris Newsome had 12 points and 10 rebounds, as Rey Guevarra, Bryan Faundo, and Cliff Hodge added 10 apiece. Hodge also had 15 rebounds. – Rappler.com