MANILA, Philippines - Import Arizona Reid was clutch down the stretch, scoring 9 of his team’s last 10 points to lead the San Miguel Beermen past the NLEX Road Warriors, 96-92, and to their sixth straight win on Friday, June 5, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Reid finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds, outplaying NLEX import Kwame Alexander who put up 21 points, 13 boards, and 6 turnovers.
“I think this is a good win for us because our target is to get in the top 4,” said San Miguel head coach Leo Austria after the contest.
“Hindi ko iniisip yung winning streak eh,” he later said, “basta iniisip namin one game at a time. Maybe because of our first two losses. Every game is very important for us.”
(I’m not thinking about the winning streak, we’re just taking it one game at a time.)
San Miguel increased their lead to 10 at one point in the third period, 71-61, but a couple of 3-pointers by Asian import Michael Madanly and a dunk by Alexander brought their team back to the contest.
The game went down the wire, with San Miguel clinging on to an 86-84 lead after an Asi Taulava bank shot. That’s when Reid went on his scoring spree, opening with a 3-pointer from the wing to push the Beermen’s lead back to 5.
After KG Canaleta hit a jumper to cut the lead to 3, Reid hit another 3-pointer to create more separation. On the next possession, Alexander completed a put-back slam to cut the edge to four, but then Reid answered again following a time-out with an and-one play, 95-88.
4 straight points by Taulava cut the Beermen lead to 3, but a free throw by Marcio Lassiter sealed the win with 7 seconds to go.
Lassiter finished with 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting, making another statement to be included in the Best Player of the Conference race.
“Matagal ko na hinihintay yun about Marcio,” Austria said about the topic. “Since naging coach ako nang team na ito, I knew Marcio, his time would come.”
(I’ve been waiting long for Marcio to play like this. Since I became the coach of this team, I knew Marcio’s time would come.)
“Alam ko na siya ang magiging starter ko and slowly, na re-regain niya yung confidence na hinahanap niya. I’m happy for him.”
(I knew he would be my starter and slowly, he regained his confidence.)
June Mar Fajardo had 16 points and 17 rebounds for the Beermen, now 6-2 in the Governors' Cup, while Taulava put up 20 and 7 for the Road Warriors. Madanly finished with 24 points and 6 assists in the losing effort, as NLEX dropped to 2-5.
The Beermen will be back in action on Tuesday, June 9, when they face the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters. NLEX, on the other hand, will have Rain or Shine next the following day.
SAN MIGUEL 96: Reid 30, Lassiter 21, Fajardo 16, Cabagnot 8, Santos 8, Tubid 7, Lutz 3, Ross 3, Reyes 0, Espinas 0.
NLEX 92: Madanly 24, Alexander 21, Taulava 20, Canaleta 10, Wilson 5, Cardona 4, Villanueva J. 4, Villanueva E. 2, Ramos 2, Lingganay 0, Arboleda W. 0.
Quarter Scores: 23-26, 42-38, 73-69, 96-92