MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – On an afternoon when both teams had 28 3-pointers between them, it was defending champion San Miguel Beermen that ended the game still guns ablaze as they outshot the equally red-hot Phoenix Fuel Masters, 124-113, in the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup on Sunday, July 17 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen, who recorded 13-of-31 shooting from deep, punched in their first victory of the season-ending, import-laden conference and sent the Fuel Masters to a 0-2 start.
"This game is really important for us because we want to have a good start. If you remember last year we struggled in our first two games and went 0-2. Since this time our opponent is Phoenix, we realized we cannot relax," said head coach Leo Austria.
"As much as possible we want to get wins at the start."
After weathering an offensive explosion in the first half where Phoenix led 69-64, San Miguel settled down in the third quarter. With import AZ Reid leading the charge, they ended that period on a 16-2 run to overturn a 10-point deficit and reclaim the advantage, 97-93.
Reid had a game-high 41 points, including 4-of-9 shooting from downtown, to go with 10 rebounds, 4 assists and two blocks.
The Fuel Masters sizzled in the first two quarters but, despite keeping it close early in the fourth, fizzled out late when it mattered most.
June Mar Fajardo, though still recovering physically (fever) and mentally (the heartbreaking Gilas Pilipinas loss a week ago), contributed 21 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks off the bench.
Alex Cabagnot added 4 rebounds and 3 assists while Marcio Lassiter had 12 markers, 6 boards, 6 dimes, and two blocks to make up for an undermanned roster.
Arwind Santos and Gabby Espinas are both still recovering from knee surgery, reportedly for cleaning purposes, while Chris Lutz and Yancy De Ocampo are out reportedly with back problems.
Phoenix import Marcus Simmons had 28 points and 11 rebounds as Norbert Torres came up with 19 points and 6 rebounds as a starter.
Veteran guard Cyrus Baguio, who was traded from Alaska just 4 days ago, added 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists. Mark Cruz likewise tallied 13 points to go with 4 boards and 7 dimes. Simon Enciso chipped in 12 points.
Both teams, which kept firing 3-pointers from start to finish, were pictures of smooth-flowing offense with San Miguel registering 24 assists and Phoenix coming up with 27.
Phoenix led by as much as 11 points, 65-54, late in the second quarter before San Miguel rallied to keep it close by halftime and the Fuel Masters went cold for the better part of the last two quarters. – Rappler.com