SAN Miguel Beer again flaunted its depth as it pulled off a come-from-behind 118-112 win over Kia in their PBA Governors’ Cup matchup on Saturday with an all-Filipino lineup in the fourth quarter.
With SMB import Terrence Watson having a tough time operating in the face of a double-teaming Picanto defense, coach Leo Austria opted to turn to Arwind Santos in the payoff period.
“I have to give credit to the defense of Kia, dahil every time na he gets the ball in the post, dalawa na yung kanyang bantay eh,” Austria said. “Na-surprise siya [import] sa defense na binigay ng Kia.”
“That’s why pahiyang ako, pumunta ako sa locals,” he added. “They know how to fight back against that kind of suffocating defense against the big man at the post."
June Mar Fajardo led the Beermen’s dreaded local crew in climbing from an 11-point hole to avoid an upset, scoring 20 of his 41 points in the payoff period.
“I’m happy to see the players nagkaroon ng recognition to get to June Mar at the post,” Austria said. “And of course, si Arwind, sa perimeter he’s a big factor.”
“Although our import can shoot from the perimeter, but he’s not like Arwind, who can shoot the three-point area,” he added. “Any team, talagang kakabahan pagka si Arwind tumira dun.”
Kia coach Chris Gavina lauded his SMB counterpart for his adjustments that paid off.
“Coach Leo made a tremendous adjustment and a risky one in taking out his import and plugging in Arwind. It really opened up the floor for them,” Gavina said.