CEBU CITY — The San Mig Coffee Mixers proved to be rude guests as they handed local team M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala-Cebu Ninos an 82-69 beating at the start of the Mayor Michael Rama Cup at the packed Cebu Coliseum.
The Ninos were within striking distance in the first quarter, 23-20. But the Mixers, formerly the B-Meg Llamados, ended the second quarter with a 15-5 blast fuelled by an eight-point explosion from Peter June Simon to open a 46-30 advantage at the turn.
The dam broke in the third period as the lead grew to a high of 22, 54-32, after three straight points by two-time PBA MVP and crowd favorite James Yap.
The Ninos tried to make their way back into the ballgame in the fourth quarter and came within 13 on two occasions, the last at 60-73, with 5:05 left. But Yap doused the fire with a cold-blooded three-pointer and added two more free-throws for good measure, 78-60.
Yap finished with a game-high 14 points and was followed by Simon’s 13. Cebuano forward Aldrech Ramos, the fifth pick in this year’s draft, added 10 points for the Mixers.
The Ninos were led by the 11 each of Abby Santos and Ian Saladaga.
In the second game, the Alaska Aces leaned on their brand-new backcourt to repulse the Talk N Text Tropang Texters, 73-70.
Newly-acquired guard JV Casio paced the team with 15 points while former Southwestern University standout Cyrus Baguio added 13.
Jayson Castro led TnT with 13 while Kelly Williams added 12.