SAN Miguel walked the tightrope before pulling off a 71-69 thriller against the Saigon Heat that kept the Beermen’s winning streak alive in the Asean Basketball League Saturday night.
Import Brian Williams split his foul shots in the final 10 seconds, but was good enough to give the Beermen a two-point cushion.
They later watched the Heat's Oping Sumalinog miss on a potential game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer, paving the way for them to march to their 12th straight win before an appreciative crowd at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig.
The Beermen kept the league’s best record at 15-3 and have now earned homecourt advantage throughout the semifinals.
The Beermen held on a 66-60 lead midway in the fourth, but the Heat just won’t go away and threatened at 70-69 on a three-pointer by Norman Gonales in the final 29 seconds.
But Sumalinog erroneously fouled Williams with only four seconds left in the Beermen’s shotclock, automatically giving the import two free throws with 10 seconds to go.
Brian Williams topscored for the Beermen with 19 points and five rebounds, while Asi Taulava sustained his resurgence by coming through with 18 points and eight rebounds.
David Palmer had 24 points and 14 rebounds and Justin Howard with 19 and 12 in a losing cause for the Heat, who fell to 3-14 overall and suffered their 13th straight setbacks.
San Miguel (71) – B. Williams 19, Taulava 18, J Williams 8, Acuna 7, Avenido 6, Hubalde 4, Cawaling 3, Fortuna 2, Rizada 2, Thiele 2, Menk 0.
Saigon (69) – Palmer 24, Howard 19, Reyes 16, Sumalinog 4, Gonzales 3, Ngo 3, To 0.
Quarterscores: 17-19; 36-29; 57-53; 71-69.