PAOLO Hubalde and Asi Taulava made key contributions in a key third quarter breakaway of San Miguel’s 77-61 rout of Sports Rev Thailand Slammers to earn a return trip to the Asean Basketball League (ABL) Finals Thursday night at the Nimibutr Stadium in Bangkok.
The Game 4 win allowed the Beermen to wrap up the best-of-five semifinal series against the Slammers, 3-1, and pave the way for title rematch against defending champion Indonesia Warriors.
Game 1 of the best-of-five title series is set Friday next week, with the Beermen hosting the opener at the Ynares Sports Arena.
Hubalde scored a team-high 16 points and sank all two of his three-pointers in the third period, while Taulava had six of his 15 markers during the same stretch when the Beermen outscored the home team, 20-11, to stretch a three-point halftime edge (33-30) to 53-41 going into the final 10 minutes.
The Slammers never recovered from there as the Beermen pounded them no end, the lead eventually reaching as high as 20 points.
San Miguel won the final three games of the series after Thailand scored a stunning 62-60 win in the opener at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
San Miguel coach Leo Austria said the series against Thailand was a learning experience.
“We learned a lot from this series. That made us become tougher,” Austria said after the game.
Taulava began the third with a deuce before Hubalde’s triple hiked the Beermen’s lead to 45-35.
The rout began from then on.
Compounding the woes of the Slammers were their horrible 5-of-22 shooting from the foul line.
San Miguel (77) -- Hubalde 16, Taulava 15, B. Williams 10, Avenido 9, Banchero 8, Fortuna 6, J. Williams 6, Menk 3, Luanzon 2, Acuna 0, Thiele 0.
Thailand (61) -- Charles 15, Brannon 10, Baguion 8, Dasom 6, Klahan 5, Apiromvilaichai 5, Lertlaaokul 4, Sekteera 3, Ghogar 2, Khomkum 2, Gonzaga 1, Samerjai 0.
Quarterscores: 21-13; 33-30; 53-41; 77-61.