SAN Miguel Beer flaunted its dominant form as expected as it walloped Phoenix, 104-96 , to get its PBA Philippine Cup title defense going on Sunday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Unveiling a new offense that promotes equal opportunity, the Beermen turned in a balanced effort that saw all their starters score in double digits.
The Beermen banked on a late 18-4 salvo that extended an 85-80 lead to 19 points and took the fight out of the Fuel Masters and spoiled the debut of new Phoenix coach Louie Alas.
"The first win is always really hard," SMB coach Leo Austria said. "Everybody prepares hard for us."
"I really have respect for Phoenix especially with the new coaching staff. Unfortunately, we have an intact lineup that plays like a well-oiled machine."
June Mar Fajardo anchored the attack with 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting, 16 boards, four assists, and four blocks. But with their new offense that veers away from him as the focal point, the four-time MVP drew plenty of help from his fellow starters.
Alex Cabagnot registered 22 points, four assists, and two boards, while Marcio Lassiter added 20 points built around four treys, along with five rebounds, and four assists.
Chris Ross orchestrated their offense with precision and finished with 16 points, nine assists, and sx caroms, while Arwind Santos chipped in 14 points, 11 boards, three steals, and two assists.
Jeff Chan led the Fuel Masters with 18 points, spiked by five triples, off the bench. One of the veteran gunner's treys pulled them to within 80-85, before SMB leaned on that late push.
SMB 104 — Fajardo 23, Cabagnot 22, Lassiter 20, Ross 16, Santos 14, Pessumal 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, Agovida 0, Heruela 0, Lanete 0, Mabulac 0, Mamaril 0, Vigil 0
PHOENIX 96 — Chan 18, Wright 12, Alolino 11, Chua 11, Wilson 11, Dehesa 8, Kramer 6, Jazul 4, Eriobu 2, Intal 2, Revilla 1
Quarterscores: 23-18, 47-37, 79-68, 104-96