Shorthanded San Miguel underscores depth once again by dealing Star a beating
SMB guard Alex Cabagnot scores on a fallaway jumper. Jaime Campos

SAN Miguel Beer sent Star crashing with a 109-100 victory to get back on the winning track in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Sunday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The defending champion Beermen showed how formidable they are despite continuing to miss a few key players as they warded off a late rally by the Hotshots on the way to their third win in four games.

AZ Reid and June Mar Fajardo showed the way, while playmakers Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross lived up to their roles with timely plays down the stretch for the Beermen, who kept the Hotshots from putting up a winning streak as their victims absorbed a third setback  in four games.

Reid, after missing a potential game-winning triple in their loss to Mahindra, scattered 34 points, 11 assists, five steals, and four boards with less than two minutes of rest, while Fajardo dominated with 28 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks, two steals, and two assists.

“Every time it’s a game between sister teams, it’s always a war,” SMB coach Leo Austria said. “But I kept on telling them to just show their energy, and when it comes to talent, we have an advantage and we have to use that.”

The Beermen, despite still missing Arwind Santos and Gabby Espinas as the veteran big men recover from knee surgeries, built leads as many as 20 points, but allowed the Hotshots embark on a comeback that saw them pull to within five, 88-83, after a PJ Simon basket with a little over seven minutes left.

But the defending champions regained their bearings as they banked on a 14-5 run, capped by a Reid stab off a Ross feed, to regain a comfortable 102-88 margin and take the fight out of the Hotshots.

Cabagnot made some of the biggest plays, scoring six of his 21 points in the final frame, while Ross was the other double-digit scorer for SMB


The scores:

SMB 109 – Reid 34, Fajardo 28, Cabagnot 21, Ross 14, Lassiter 7, De Ocampo 3, Tubid 2, Arana 0, David 0, Reyes 0

STAR 100 – Yap 20, Blakely 15, Garcia 14, Melton 14, Barroca 11, Simon 10, Pingris 6, Mallari 4, Reavis 4, Maliksi 2, Pascual 0, Sangalang 0

Quarterscores: 32-20, 56-39, 83-70, 109-100 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos