San Miguel Beer revives PBA playoff hopes by taming dangerous Barako Bull
AZ Reid proved a steadying presence for the Beermen. Jerome Ascano

SAN Miguel Beer survived a Barako Bull fightback behind Alex Cabagnot, import Arizona Reid and Arwind Santos to hack out a 102-91 victory and keep its flickering PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoff hopes alive on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The left-handed Cabagnot played his best game of the conference with 17 points and eight assists, leading a critical 12-2 tear in the final quarter that enabled the Beermen to re-establish control, 86-72, after letting a 15-point first-quarter lead disappear into thin air.

Reid then took over from there, completing a three-point play before adding a three-pointer inside the final two minutes to wrap up just the second win in eight games for the Philippine Cup champions, who lost big man June Mar Fajardo to an injury in the first half.

“It’s a good relief for us because in the last two weeks, talagang maraming mahilig sa basketball especially, mga fans namin, na really disappointed with our performance,” San Miguel coach Leo Austria said.

“I can’t blame them (fans) because mentally and physically, we’re drained and till now we’re still recovering,” he added, claiming fatigue has caught up with the Beermen since winning the Philippine Cup more than a month ago.

Austria said the players held a meeting among themselves on Monday.

“Arwind talked to me and to coach Gee (Abanilla), kasi sumama siya 'dun (players’ meeting).  There was no coaching staff to iron out kung ano man meron kaming mali, kasi when you’re losing, talagang may tendency na magka-blame game,” he added.

“I’m so happy because the players initiated to arrest what’s wrong with us.”

Despite losing Fajardo to a left ankle sprain in the first quarter, the Beermen still outrebounded the Energy, 66-52. They also took a sizeable 39-22 advantage on bench points and a 23-9 edge in second chance points.

Reid led the Beermen with 34 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists, while Santos added 22 and 13 boards.

Nigerian import Solomon Alabi had 25 points, 24 rebounds and four blocks while JC Intal banged in a personal conference-high 25 points for Barako, which dropped to a share of sixth spot with GlobalPort at 4-4 heading to the league's All-Star break.

The scores:

San Miguel 102 - Reid 34, Santos 22, Cabagnot 17, Kramer 14, Lassiter 5, Lutz 3, Tubid 3, Ross 2, Fajardo 2, Reyes 0, Fortuna 0, Semerad 0.

Barako Bull 91 - Intal 25, Alabi 25, Marcelo 11, Pascual 10, Garcia 6, Mercado 4, Hubalde 4, Lanete 4, Paredes 2, Lastimosa 0.

Quartercores: 26-23, 57-46, 74-70, 102-91

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