MATT Rogers and Chris Banchero stepped up in the absence of two key players as the San Miguel Beermen clobbered Westports Malaysia Dragons, 77-66, on Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig for the team’s first back-to-back victories of the fourth Asean Basketball League season.
Rogers and Banchero chipped in 21 points apiece for the Beermen as they notched their fifth win in eight outings in putting an end to their up-and-down start to the season, the win coming at the heels of a 66-55 victory over the Jobstreet.com Singapore Slingers last week.
RJ Rizada had 10 points, while former PBA MVP Asi Taulava posted six points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks on his 40th birthday in a team effort win by San Miguel, which won even without import Gabe Freeman and Erik Menk.
Freeman missed the game after being hit with a one-game suspension by the league for an altercation in the Beermen’s previous game against the Slingers while Menk suffered a fractured nose that is expected to sideline him for a month.
Rogers, a stand-in for injured import in Brian Williams, finally played a big role for his team, grabbing 10 rebounds, swatting three shots, and going 2-of-8 from three-point range.
The Dragons came within six points, 60-66, but the Beermen finished the game with a flourish, 17-6, to clinch the victory.
Gavin Edwards had 22 points and 16 rebounds for the Dragons. Gilas Pilipinas cadet member Justin Melton was limited to six markers.
San Miguel (77) – Rogers 21, Banchero 21, Rizada 10, Taulava 6, Cawaling 6, Avenido 6, Thiele 4, Hubalde 3, Luanzon 0, Burtscher 0.
Malaysia (66) – Edwards 22, Tautuaa 17, Monroe 12, Melton 6, Ng 2, Ooi 2, Loh 3, Batumalai 0, Kuek 0, Cabahug 0.
Quarterscores: 19-20; 36-30; 57-46; 77-66.