AIR21’s defense held San Mig Coffee still without a win in the PBA Governors Cup after pulling off a king-size 93-82 upset Saturday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Veteran guard Mike Cortez came through in the clutch for the Express, scoring seven of his team’s final 11 points. He also dished off two crucial assists and added a steal down the stretch when Air21 held the Mixers to just a single field goal in the final five minutes.
The Expresss evened their record at 1-1, while relegating the Mixers in the cellar with an 0-2 card.
“That's the team I've been looking for when we started the conference,” said Air21 coach Franz Pumaren.
“I think the boys played great defense tonight despite some of them getting to foul trouble early, while Zach (Graham) gave us a big lift.”
The 6-foot-5 Graham blasted San Mig's weak defense by scoring 38 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, and three blocks, while Cortez added 13 and six assists in a solid playmaking performance.
San Mig import Marqus Blakely came through with another monster game of 37points and 25 rebounds, but proved miserable again from the foul line where he shot an atrocious 9-of-26 that hastened the fall of the Mixers.
Two-time league MVP James Yap continued his offensive struggle after finishing with just two points on another disappointing shooting night. He finished the game by going 1-of-10 from the field.
PJ Simon, another supposed old reliable for the Mixers, also had an off-night as he was held to just nine points on 4-of-11 shooting.
San Mig also missed starting power forward Marc Pingris for the second straight game as the 6-foot-5 energetic forward has been given a week off for his heroic effort with the Gilas Pilipinas team recently.
Air21 (93) -- Graham 38, Cortez 13, Canaleta 12, Manuel 8, Menor 8, Isip 5, Sharma 4, Sena 3, Custodio 2, Omolon 0, Ritualo 0, Arboleda 0.
San Mig (82) -- Blakely 37, Mallari 10, Simon 9, Devance 6, Maliksi 5, Acuna 5, Reavis 4, Ponferrada 2, Barroca 2, Yap 2, Alvarez 0, De Ocampo 0.
Quarterscores: 21-25; 49-46; 75-68; 93-82.