San Miguel Beer overcome NLEX behind Santos' double-double
MANILA, Philippines - The San Miguel Beermen quickly made up for their loss to the Alaska Aces by using a strong fourth quarter to defeat the NLEX Road Warriors, 79-76, in a PBA out-of-town game on Saturday, November 8, at the Mindanao Civic Center Sports Complex in Lanao Del Norte.
Arwind Santos had 12 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the Beermen, who outscored the Road Warriors by eight in the fourth period to steal the win.
Reigning PBA MVP and San Miguel starting center June Mar Fajardo held his ground against veteran NLEX big man Asi Taulava, putting up 11 points. His teammate Chris Lutz contributed 13.
San Miguel started the 2014-2015 PBA Philippine Cup by winning their first three games before losing to the Alaska Aces, 66-63, last Wednesday, November 5. Their win over NLEX improved the Beermen's record to 4-1, which is good for second best in the conference standings right now.
Taulava had 13 points for the Road Warriors, now 2-3 and losers of two straight, while leading PBA scorer Macmac Cardona (averaging 19.3 PPG entering Saturday's game) finished with 19 points.
It looked like San Miguel would run away with the win late in the fourth quarter, but NLEX converted a pair of baskets thanks to a tough layup in the paint from Taulava, and a clutch 3-ball by KG Canaleta that gave the Road Warriors a 76-75 lead with under 3 minutes to go.
After Lutz hit a basket to put the Beermen back on top, both teams had empty possessions on offense for the next two minutes. Following a couple of misses by NLEX, Lassiter was sent to the free throw line where he split his charities and put San Miguel ahead 78-76 with 26.4 seconds to go.
Off the time-out, Cardona managed to get to the paint but his floater attempt was altered by the long arms of Fajardo. Santos and Chris Ross then had an opportunity to ice the game at the line, but combined to go just 1-of-4, leaving the door open for NLEX to tie the match with a 3-ball and extend it to overtime.
However, the Road Warriors were unable to get a decent attempt as Jonas Villanueva's shot from near half court didn't even hit the ring.
NLEX led by 10, 28-18, at one point in the second quarter following a 7-0 run.
In the opening moments of the final period, a drive by Ross to the rim left the defending Enrico Villanueva off balanced. The NLEX big man then fell on the left knee of Beermen swingman Ronald Tubid, who quickly crumpled to the floor and held on to the injured body part while agonizing in pain.
Tubid didn't return for the rest of the game but looked fine after the contest.
San Miguel 79 - Lassiter 22, Lutz 13, Ross 12, Santos 12, Fajardo 11, Tubid 8, Mercado 1 Pascual, Ronald 0, Omolon 0, Semerad 0, Chua 0
NLEX 76 - Cardona 19, Taulava 13, Ramos 11, Canaleta 10, Villanueva, Jonas 8, Arboleda, Wynne 7, Baloria 6, Villanueva, Enrico 2, Camson 0, Borboran 0, Apinan 0
Quarter Scores: 18-21, 42-40, 59-64, 79-76