Froilan Baguion played only 16 minutes but had a key role in the San Miguel Beermen's fightback from a 14-point deficit to beat the Indonesia Warriors, 86-83, Saturday in Game One of the Asean Basketball League championship series at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Baguion scored his only basket, a game-tying triple, and issued the assist for the go-ahead three-point play on their next possession to lift the Beermen to the hard-earned victory in the series opener.
San Miguel can sweep the best-of-three series and earn the ABL title in its first year in the league on June 23 at the Mahaka Square in Jakarta.
Baguion helped the Beermen even things at 77-77 on a three-pointer with 2:56 left.
After Fil-American Stanley Pringle’s three-pointer rattled out, Baguion found Nick Fazekas for a three-point play, one of his nine assists, with two minutes to play in the game as momentum shifted to the Beermen for good.
Baguion had won two previous titles in the league with the Philippine Patriots and the Thailand Slammers, respectively, but was left to play off the bench for the Beermen in the latter part of the season after the entry of Fil-Italian playmaker Chris Banchero.
But San Miguel coach Bobby Parks knew the veteran would deliver quality minutes when called up.
“Froilan is a veteran coming in, so we knew what he can do,” Parks said. “If you remember, he is our point guard early in the season so we had that luxury of having two point guards.”
The win spoiled the effort of Indonesia import Evan Brock, who led his team with 24 points, and Pringle, who had 15 of his 21 points in the first half. The duo powered the Warriors to a 37-23 lead in the second quarter, before the Beermen reduced it to a manageable deficit, 46-41, at the half.
The Warriors opened the fourth with a 6-0 blast, but the Beermen countered by moving Baguion to the point guard position, with Banchero shifting to the two-spot to defend the explosive Pringle.
“We did that because trying to guard Stanley Pringle and running the team too, is a hard job,” Parks said. “We moved over Froilan so Chris can play Stanley and not worry about him bringing the ball and tire himself.”
Duke Crews had 22 points and eight rebounds including a dunk that drew an unsportsmanlike foul on Allan Salangsang that helped the Beermen move up 83-79.
Both teams exchanged baskets afterwards, but Leo Avenido split his free throws with 13.7 seconds left in the game to give the Warriors another chance. However, Mario Wuysang’s triple missed the mark in the final play.
San Miguel 86—Crews 22, Avenido 21, Fazekas 18, Banchero 11, Fajardo 7, Yap 4, Baguion 3, Fernandez 0, Gonzales 0, Dimaunahan 0.
Indonesia 83—Brock 24, Pringle 21, Thomas 16, Salangsang 10, Canada 7, Wuysang 5, Prihantono 0, Gunawan 0, Sitepu 0.
Quarterscores: 20-26, 41-46, 63-64, 86-83.