SAN Miguel Beer pounced on a listless Alaska side to roll to a 108-78 victory and take Game One of the PBA Governros’ Cup Finals on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Beermen, supposedly weary after playing their third game in five days, surprisingly came out with more energy against a supposedly fresher Alaska side as they turned an expected nip-and-tuck affair into a blowout.
It was the most lopsided finals game since Air21 walloped Barangay Ginebra, 124-90, in Game Two of the 2008 Fiesta Conference title series.
AZ Reid led five Beermen in double-figure scoring with 32 points as they ran rings against an Aces defense that yielded a league-best 87.5 points in the run-up to the finals.
“I expected it to be a hard game for us, but we came out more energetic,” Beermen coach Leo Austria said after his team dealt Alaska its first loss in the playoffs – and just its fourth in the entire conference.
Game Two is on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Reid gained plenty of help as June Mar Fajardo registered 18 points, 17 boards, and three blocks; Arwind Santos tallied 15 points and nine boards, and Alex Cabagnot added 15 points and five assists.
Chris Lutz, in a rare start this conference, repaid Austria’s faith by sparking the rout, scoring nine of his 12 points in the first quarter where the Beermen first established a double-digit lead.
The Beermen also gave the defensive-minded Aces a dose of their own medicine as they held them to their lowest output this conference after forcing Alaska to make just 39 percent (24-of-62) of their shots.
Romeo Travis could only muster 14 points on 6-of-18 shooting, while Chris Banchero, the only Alaska local to average in twin digits in scoring, was limited to just four points.
Sonny Thoss was one of the few bright spots, contributing 12 points and eight boards in 23 minutes for the Aces.
SMB 108 – Reid 32, Fajardo 18, Cabagnot 15, Santos 15, Lutz 12, Lassiter 9, Ross 2, Fortuna 2, Semerad 2, Tubid 1, Reyes 0, Espinas 0
ALASKA 78 – Travis 14, Thoss 12, Abueva 11, Hontiveros 11, Manuel 8, Casio 5, Banchero 4, Baguio 4, Menk 3, Dela Rosa 2, Exciminiano 2, Jazul 2
Quarterscores: 35-22, 54-41, 77-65, 108-78