ANTIPOLO CITY — Froilan Baguion issued the assist that led to Darongpang Apiromvilaichai's game-winner as the Sports Rev Thailand Slammers stunned the San Miguel Beermen, 62-60, to draw first blood in their Asean Basketball League semifinal series at the Ynares Center.
Apiromvilaichai’s long jumper with 5.7 seconds left snapped the Beermen's 16-game winning streak going back to the regular season and put the Philippine side on the back foot in the best-of-five semifinal series.
The Beermen try to even the series on Saturday in Game Two at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City.
Baguion only scored three points but was instrumental in the final moments of the game. The former Beermen intercepted Brian Williams’ inside pass then split his free throws at the other end to give the visitors the lead, 60-58.
Chris Banchero hit two free throws with 13 seconds left to tie the game. But Baguion, bucking cramps on both hamstrings, drew the defense with a drive before finding Apiromvilaichai wide open for a deep jumper from the left wing that was his only basket of the game.
Banchero turned the ball over in the next play to end the game.
“Nag-create lang ako and found an open teammate. Luckily, na-shoot niya,” said Baguion.
The Slammers were the more aggressive team with a 23-18 edge in offensive boards. Thailand also forced more turnovers, 25-17.
“San Miguel is a great team but we didn't hang our head on defense,” said Thailand coach Joe Bryant. "We are not an offensive team and we did a great job defensively.”
Thailand led early, posting a 12-5 advantage in the opening period.
But Banchero, in his first game back from a left quadriceps injury, rallied the Beermen to tie the game at 17-17.
San Miguel took the driver’s seat, 20-19, before Thailand began to take control.
The Beermen played catch-up and eventually regained the lead at the 4:32 mark of the fourth when Banchero scored to give the home team the lead, 54-53, and set-up the hotly contested finish.
Apiromvilaichai’s basket proved to be a big boost from Thailand’s local players, who were led by Kannawat Lertlaokull with 10 points to complement import Chris Charles’ 24.
Banchero topscored for 13 points, while Justin Williams and Brian Williams had 12 apiece for the Beermen.
Thailand (62) – Charles 24, Lertlaokul 10, Brannon 8, Klahan 7, Gonzaga 4, Apiromvilaichai 4, Baguion 3, Ghogar 2, Kongkum 0, Sekteera 0, Dasom 0, Samerjai 0.
San Miguel (60) – Banchero 13, J. Williams 12, B. Williams 12, Taulava 6, Hubalde 5, Avenido 5, Acuna 3, Fortuna 2, Thiele 2, Cawaling 0, Menk 0.
Quarterscores: 17-17; 36-31; 47-42; 62-60.