San Miguel thwarts Air21 in physical game

MANILA, Philippines – The San Miguel Beermen survived a physically-charged contest on the road against a fiery Air21 Express and thrashed them, 101-88, in the 2014 PLDT Home Telpad PBA Governors' Cup on Saturday, June 14, at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna.

With the double-digit win, the now 5-4 Beermen improved their chances at a spot in the top 4 and put the Express, also at 5-4, out of contention for one of those 4 spots due to inferior quotient. The top 4 teams in the standings will hold twice-to-beat advantages in the quarter finals.

The contest was extremely physical and marred by multiple technical fouls on guys like Asi Taulava, Mac Cardona, Eloy Poligrates, and Dominique Sutton.

On his first game back from injury, Sean Anthony played only for 3 and a half minutes as he was ejected from the game in the second frame owing to two technical fouls whistled on him. 

Ronald Tubid also figured in a flagrant 1 foul as he got entangled with Sutton in one play early in the third.

The Express played catch-up the entire game, overturning double-digit leads several times before succumbing to the Beermen's many offensive weapons once again.

After a Doug Kramer jumper that gave the Beermen a 48-32 edge, Air21 rallied just enough to trim the deficit to 51-45 heading into the locker rooms.

The Express carried that momentum into the second half and came to within 56-52 as Sutton powered through for the 3-point play with under 9 minutes in the third.

But San Miguel went at it again in the fourth and reclaimed a double-digit 15-point advantage, 90-75, on a Kramer basket with about 7 minutes remaining.

San Miguel emptied their tanks towards the end of the game and kept them at safe 10-point distances as they weathered the Express' last-ditch effort to steal the W.

The Beermen managed to pull out the victory with their bigmen June Mar Fajardo and Kramer in foul trouble. Fajardo, who went on to finish with 20 points and 9 rebounds, sat down early in the fourth with 5 fouls before coming back late in the game as San Miguel finished the job.

Sol Mercado came alive in this game after a quiet conference of averaging just 7 points and 4.12 assists, per The 6-foot-1 guard finished with 16 points along with 5 assists.

Import Reggie Williams had his huge contribution as well of 27 points and 8 rebounds, while Chris Ross and Arwind Santos added 11 and 10 points, respectively.

For Air21, Sutton showed the way with 26 points and 16 rebounds, as Taulava returned to his double-double ways of 18 markers and 10 boards. Joseph Yeo and Aldrech Ramos had 12 points apiece. –