Balkman double-double helps SMB end three-game slump at expense of Phoenix 
Renaldo Balkman caps a big San Miguel finishing kick with a dunk. Jerome Ascano

SAN Miguel is too good a team to keep losing, so Renaldo Balkman did something about it.

The enigmatic import put together a monster double-double as the Beermen came from behind to beat Phoenix, 106-94, on Wednesday night - their first win in four games in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.

Balkman exploded for 35 points, 17 rebounds, and four blocks as the Beermen overcame an early Phoenix lead and finally showed what their powerhouse lineup is capable of.

Balkman, in his second game back for the Beermen since gaining clemency from a lifetime ban, capped a 7-0 finishing kick to  the third quarter with a lay-up that gave the Beermen the lead, 72-70.

The Beermen import also scored a dunk off a pass from June Mar Fajardo to finish a 10-0 run and give the team a 96-88 lead with 1:48 left in the game.

San Miguel rookie Christian Standhardinger added 18 points and seven rebounds after playing most of the fourth quarter with Fajardo not in the best of shape following a busy All-Star week.

“It’s a very important game for us,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria. “In the first half, we were really struggling. Mabuti na lang after the break, we realized that this is an important game. Nag-step up ‘yung mga players.”

Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos had 13 points each off the bench, helping the Beermen overcome deficits as big as 13 points.

Eugene Phelps delivered 33 points and 17 rebounds,while Matthew Wright had 17 points for the Fuel Masters, who slipped to 3-4 despite leading by 12 at halftime, 49-37.

The scores:

San Miguel 106 – Balkman 35, Standhardinger 18, Cabagnot 13, Santos 13, Lassiter 12, Fajardo 9, Ross 6, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Lanete 0, Heruela 0.

Phoenix 94 – Phelps 33, Wright 17, Jazul 10, Perkins 8, Chua 8, Kramer 6, Wilson 6, Chan 4, Mendoza 2, Intal 0, Revilla 0.

Quarters: 17-18; 37-49; 72-70; 106-94.

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