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    San Miguel Beer catches fire late, deals Meralco first loss in thrilling Legazpi game

    Mar 5, 2016
    SMB center June Mar Fajardo wins a battle for the rebund. PBA Images

    SAN Miguel Beer sent Meralco crashing back to earth with a 94-86 decision on Saturday night to sustain its own rise in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup in a road game at the Ibalong Centrum for Recreation in Legazpi City.

    Tyler Wilkerson scattered 13 points in the last eight minutes where the Beermen broke free from a tight contest on the way to dealing the Bolts their first loss in six outings.

    The SMB import finished with 27 points and 10 boards, and punctuated the victory with a three-pointer at the buzzer as he had the last laugh in a virtual duel against Meralco counterpart Arinze Onuaku, who dominated with 28 points and 30 rebounds.

    The Beermen thus stretched their winning streak to three games to hike their win-loss record to against one loss and claim a piece of second spot with Alaska.

    The result somehow replicated the Beermen’s feat in the last midseason tournament where they also handed the Bolts their first defeat after starting the conference with five wins for their best start in franchise history.

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    Gabby Espinas (13 points in 14 minutes) and Alex Cabagnot (10 points, four assists, three boards) provided the spark off the SMB bench, while Marcio Lassiter added 10 markers, and June Mar Fajardo chipped in nine points and 16 boards.

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    Onuaku almost singlehandedly carried the Bolts as he was one of only two players who scored in double digits, the other being Gary David who chipped in 12 points in 19 minutes off the bench.

    The Bolts tied the game at 74 after a Jared Dillinger jumper with exactly eight minutes remaining, before the Beermen banked on a 12-4 run to gain the upper hand for good.

    The scores:

    SMB 94 – Wilkerson 27, Espinas 13, Lassiter 10, Cabagnot 10, Fajardo 9, Ross 9, Santos 7, Arana 5, Lutz 4, De Ocampo 0, Semerad 0

    MERALCO 86 – Onuaku 28, David 12, Newsome 8, Faundo 8, Dillinger 6, Buenafe 6, Hodge 4, Hugnatan 4, Alapag 2, Amer 2, Caram 2, Nabong 2, Bono 2

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    Quaterscores: 19-13, 44-44, 62-63, 94-86

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    SMB center June Mar Fajardo wins a battle for the rebund. PBA Images
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