San Miguel weathers late Phoenix rally, JMF injury in semis opener win
MANILA, Philippines – The San Miguel Beermen boosted their quest for a five-peat title in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals after surviving the No. 1 Phoenix Fuel Masters in Game 1, 100-88, at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, April 13.
Alex Cabagnot erupted for 26 points and 7 assists with 5-of-9 shots from downtown. Christian Standhardinger picked up the slack down low and finished with a 12-point, 16-rebound double-double while Chris Ross and Marcio Lassiter each chipped in 14.
After being down by as many as 24 points, the Fuel Masters found new life early in the 4th with a 13-0 run to cut their deficit to 9, 74-83, after a JC Intal triple.
Alex Mallari got Phoenix as near as 7, 82-89, but timely baskets by San Miguel ensured what remained of their lead down the stretch.
Cabagnot then sealed the Fuel Masters’ fate with over two minutes left for the 13-point lead, 96-83, ending a 7-1 Beermen run.
The Fuel Masters already looked out of gas before the half as the Beermen piled on a 22-4 run for the 43-31 advantage. Not even a scary head injury scare to June Mar Fajardo fazed San Miguel en route to a 49-39 advantage by intermission.
Although the five-time MVP would return in the 3rd as San Miguel clinched a 24-point gap, he eventually fouled out late in the 4th. He only had 9 points and 9 rebounds in the win.
Calvin Abueva paced Phoenix with 18 points and a game-high 21 rebounds, but left out a lot of free points after going 5-of-15 from the line.
Matthew Wright fired a team-high 22 points while Mallari and RJ Jazul each had 11 in the loss.
Phoenix will look to even up their first-ever semifinals run in Game 2 on Monday, April 15, at the Araneta Coliseum.
San Miguel 100 – Cabagnot 26, Ross 14, Lassiter 14, Standhardinger 12, Santos 9, Fajardo 9, Tubid 6, Romeo 5, Pessumal 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Nabong 0.
Phoenix 88 – Wright 22, Abueva 18, Jazul 11, Mallari 11, Perkins 6, Revilla 7, Chua 5, Marcelo 4, Intal 3, Kramer 1, Mendoza 0, Dennison 0.
Quarters: 21-27, 49-39, 81-59, 100-88.