ASI Taulava keyed a pivotal third-quarter to lead San Miguel Beer past Westports Malaysia Dragons, 80-62, on Friday night for its 10th straight win in the Asean Basketball League at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The 40-year-old Taulava turned back the hands of time, scoring a game-high 26 points while scoring eight in a 10-0 blast at the start the third period that enabled the Beermen to pull away from a dangerous Dragons side.
“I’m happy to see a 40-year-old big man playing like a 21-year-old,” San Miguel coach Leo Austria said of Taulava, a former PBA MVP who moved to the regional league prior to the season.
The Beermen improved their record to 13-3 as they extend the league’s longest winning streak to 10 games. They also moved one game ahead of the Indonesia Warriors (12-4).
“That’s amazing for us. But we are after sa number one after the eliminations dahil may advantage sa playoffs,” said Austria.
After their landmark one-point victory over the defending champion Indonesia Warriors last week, the Dragons looked intent on pulling off another upset as stayed within 34-35.
“Medyo nag-struggle kami dahil they came out prepared. We were not playing that good in the first half but we were still ahead. I told them just to be patient,” said Austria.
But Taulava’s scoring explosion earned the Beermen a 45-34 lead in the early minutes of the third canto.
Brian Williams had 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Beermen while Leo Avenido added 11. Hans Thiele finished with 10 points and seven rebounds while import Justin Williams swatted away four shots while contributing eight points and eight rebounds.
The Beermen also got the job done on defense, limiting Fil-American Justin Melton, a key player in the Dragons’ upset victory over the Warriors, to only five points.
The Dragons dropped to 9-8 but remained in third position.
San Miguel (80) – Taulava 26, B. Williams 13, Avenido 11, Thiele 10, J. Williams 8, Banchero 5, Rizada 5, Acuna 2, Fortuna 0, Hubalde 0.
Malaysia (62) – Hubbard 15, Tautuaa 11, Armon 11, Edwards 10, Melton 5, Seng 5, Kuppusamy 3, Batumalai 2, Ooi 0.
Quarterscores: 21-19; 35-34; 56-46; 80-62.