MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The San Miguel Beermen remained unscathed and cruised into their fourth straight victory in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup following a heated 109-98 win over the NLEX Road Warriors at the Cuneta Astrodome on Friday, January 19.
Leading by just two points midway the fourth quarter, San Miguel rallied behind a 16-2 run fueled by 7 points from Arwind Santos to pull away for good, 103-87, before Chris Ross and NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao exchanged words in the final few minutes.
Ross was ejected from the game after earning his second technical foul. San Miguel head coach Leo Austria explained Guiao called Ross with a racist remark, which led to the Filipino-American losing his cool.
Guiao, however, denied it.
Earlier, Ross was kicked in the groin area by NLEX big man Michael Miranda, who was thrown out of the game after being slapped a flagrant 2. Ross almost came into blows with Alex Mallari early in the fourth, earning both of them technical fouls.
Arwind Santos paced the Beermen, who are the only undefeated team in the PBA with a 4-0 card, with 26 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks while June Mar Fajardo added 25 markers and 16 boards.
Alex Cabagnot chalked up 14 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds while Marcio Lassiter also added 14 markers.
“I know they (NLEX) will come out hard and it happened, they refused to lose. But my players, because of their pride and experience in the endgame, so we prevailed,” said San Miguel head coach Leo Austria.
NLEX held a 58-49 advantage after the first half but saw it erased immediately as the Beermen took a 61-60 lead off a 12-2 spurt.
Kiefer Ravena had 15 points, 6 assists and 3 rebounds to pace the Road Warriors, who absorbed their third straight loss for a 2-3 card.
Raul Soyud, JR Quinahan and Alex Mallari chipped in 12 apiece in the loss.
San Miguel (109): Santos 26, Fajardo 25, Cabagnot 14, Lassiter 14, Pessumal 10, Ganuelas-Rosser 6, De Ocampo 4, Ross 4, Heruela 2, Mamaril 2, Semerad 2
NLEX (98): Ravena 15, Mallari 12, Quiñahan 12, Soyud 12, Miranda 10, Tiongson 8, Fonacier 6, Uyloan 6, Al-Hussaini 5, Alas 5, Taulava 3, Baguio 2, Gotladera 2
Quarter scores: 31-24, 49-5
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.