SAN Mig Super Coffee leaned on the timely baskets of Peter June Simon in the endgame to turn back Barako Bull, 76-66 and get its grand slam and title-retention bid off to a strong start in the PBA Governors Cup on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Mixers’ airtight defense held the Energy to just one field goal in the last six minutes of the match, while Simon took over by scoring the last nine points to wrap up the win for a team that is just less than a week removed from a successful Commissioner's Cup campaign.
Tim Cone, however,remains far from satisfied, especially with the performances of returning Best Import Marqus Blakely and fit-again Allein Maliksi, who are being counted upon to carry the load while the team paces its weary stars.
“To be honest, we certainly didn’t look like a championship team out there with a little bit of rustiness on Marqus and Allein, and they being a little bit of a disruption right now as we bring them to the rotation,” Cone said.
True to his word, Cone managed the playing time of Simon, Marc Pingris, James Yap, Mark Barroca and Joe Devance to just under 30 minutes to ensure they remain fresh this conference.
Simon led the Mixers with 17 points while Blakely, who only had two days of practice with the team, finished with just 10 points on a poor 4-of-16 shooting from the field.
Blakely however, collared 24 rebounds in 37 minutes of action.
Meantime, Maliksi, scored eight points in his first game back since tearing the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) on his knee late last year.
“Allein is still kinda finding his way, and that kind of in the wrong place at times has kinda disrupted everybody,” said Cone at the end of the lowest-scoring game this season.
“We stayed in the game with our defense. I think we look sharp on our offense with a little more time.”
Eric Wise led the Energy (1-1) with 25 points and 15 rebounds, while JC Intal was the only other double-digit scorer with 11 points.
San Mig 76 - Simon 17, Blakely 10, Yap 9, Maliksi 8, Pingris 8, Devance 6, Sangalang 6, Melton 5, Barroca 3, Mallari 2, Reavis 2.
Barako Bull 66 - Wise 25, Intal 11, Fortuna 7, Lastimosa 6, Najorda 4, Miller 4, Deutchman 3, Jensen 2, Isip 2, Thiele 1, Miranda 1, Wilson 0, Marcelo 0.
Quarterscores: 25-21, 39-34, 58-54, 76-66