San Miguel spared blushes as Blackwater collapses in endgame with maze of errors
Marcio Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot combined in the game-ending run that enabled the Beermen to escape with a win against the Elite. Jerome Ascano

SAN Miguel Beer avoided the upset axe as it frustrated Blackwater, 93-83, on Wednesday night to get back on the winning track in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.

The Beermen saw a tough challenge from the Elite, a sophomore team whose first-ever win in the league came at the expense of SMB in the last Commissioner's Cup. 

Blackwater once again stayed toe to toe with the defending all-Filipino cup champions for most of the game, only to fold down the stretch.

June Mar Fajardo, who only had seven attempts in their 99-84 loss to Rain or Shine, had four more as the reigning league MVP ended up with 20 points on top of 13 boards, two blocks, two assists, and one steal.

But it was Alex Cabagnot, Arwind Santos, and Ronald Tubid who came through in the clutch for the Beermen, who finished the game on a 9-2 run.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game,” Beermen coach Leo Austria said. “They tried to draw out June Mar from the post, but our talent prevailed.”

The result, the Elite’s third loss in four games, also spoiled the career performance of Poy Erram, who registered a game-high 23 points, eight boards, and one block in just 28 minutes.

Two of Erram’s points came in the four-minute, 41-second mark where the former Ateneo slotman scored on a short stab to nudge the Elite to within three, 84-81, before the Beermen finished the game strong with a 9-2 run.

Blame it to turnovers.Although they only had 14 errors, three less than the Beermen had, the Elite committed timely miscues in the endgame.

Cabagnot put up 15 points, four boards, and four assists, while Santos and Tubid combined for 10 points in the fourth.

The scores:

San Miguel 93 - Fajardo 20, Lassiter 20, Cabagnot 15, Santos 10, Tubid 9, Espinas 8, Reyes 3, Arana 2, De Ocampo 2, Heruela 2, Lutz 2, Ross 0.

Blackwater 83 - Erram 23, Cortez 15, Gamalinda 14, Lastimosa 14, Dela Cruz 4, Sena 4, Canada 2, Cervantes 2, Reyes 2, Vosotros 2, Melano 1, Agovida 0, Ballesteros 0.

Quarterscores: 24-19, 44-44, 72-70, 93-83

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