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MANILA, Philippines – Chris Ross provided the big hits as San Miguel averted another collapse and outlasted Meralco, 93-83, for its first win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, November 19.
Ross scored 7 of his 10 points in the last two minutes to bring the Beermen home, steadying the ship late to avoid a second straight meltdown after San Miguel wasted a 19-point lead to NLEX in its season-opening loss.
The Bolts trailed by as many as 21 points but got within 81-85 with under three minutes left off back-to-back Chris Newsome three-pointers.
Ross, though, answered with his own triple and sank all of his four free throws down the stretch to guide the Beermen to a 1-1 record as he also finished with 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals.
Learning the hard way after fouling out in their 117-113 overtime defeat to the Road Warriors, San Miguel import Ivan Aska committed just two fouls this time and put up 27 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 steals in nearly 45 minutes.
June Mar Fajardo also turned in a double-double for the Beermen with 17 points and 15 rebounds, CJ Perez tallied 16 points and 9 rebounds, while Terrence Romeo had 9 points before he left the game with a hurt knee.
The win saw the keenly awaited PBA debut of rookie Kyt Jimenez, who recorded 2 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals in 12 minutes of play.
Fielded in with the Beermen missing Marcio Lassiter, Jericho Cruz, and Jeron Teng, Jimenez gave his side its biggest lead at 51-30 by sinking two free throws.
But Meralco refused to go out without a fight and cut their deficit to 62-66 going into the final salvo, setting up the tough finish.
Newsome posted 22 points, 6 assists, and 2 steals for the Bolts, who absorbed their first loss of the conference and dropped to 2-1.
Meralco import Suleiman Braimoh got limited to 15 points and 12 rebounds after averaging 37 points and 15 rebounds in the first two games.
San Miguel 93 – Aska 27, Fajardo 17, Perez 16, Ross 10, Romeo 9, Tautuaa 7, Enciso 5, Jiimenez 2, Bulanadi 0.
Meralco 83 – Newsome 22, Braimoh 15, Almazan 11, Hodge 10, Bates 6, Quinto 5, Dario 5, Caram 4, Rios 3, Jackson 2, Pasaol 0.
Quarters: 29-20, 55-43, 66-62, 93-83.