SAN Miguel Beer lived up to expectations this time as it overpowered Meralco, 102-86, on Monday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum to advance to the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals.
After suffering a stunning 106-99 loss last Friday that suddenly left them on the brink of elimination, the second-seeded Beermen regained their fiery form to score the lopsided result as their twice-to-beat advantage came in handy.
“They (Bolts) put us in a scary position, but I’m happy the players responded,” Beermen coach Leo Austria said. “Pinanindigan nila yung sinabi nila na we will win.”
The Beermen arranged a showdown with Rain or Shine in the Final Four, with the best-of-five series starting on Thursday night.
AZ Reid made up for his nine turnovers by pumping in 29 points on a better 12-of-22 shooting, 11 boards, six assists, in 44 minutes, while Marcio Lassiter sparked the blowout, firing 12 of his 17 points in the final frame.
The Bolts’ size disadvantage finally became an issue as they allowed the taller Beermen to scatter 50 points in the paint, 22 coming from June Mar Fajardo, who dominated the low block by also tallying 16 of his team’s 44 rebounds.
The Bolts came to within nine points, 88-79, after a Gary David three-pointer, before the Beermen pulled away behind a 14-3 run, capped by a Lassiter triple that made it 102-83.
Andre Emmett registered 28 points, 12 boards, five assists and two steals in 45 minutes, but the prolific import found little support outside Reynel Hugnatan and David.
Kelly Nabong, coming off a 15-point, 12-rebound performance, was held to just five points and one rebound.
SMB 102 – Reid 29, Fajardo 22, Lassiter 17, Santos 15,Tubid 8, Espinas 5, Lutz 2, Cabagnot 2, Ross 2
MERALCO 86 – Emmett 28, Hugnatan 17, David 16, Cortez 7, Dillinger 5, Nabong 5, Hodge 5, Anthony 3, Ando 0, Atkins 0, Guevarra 0
Quarterscores: 30-18, 49-42, 67-65, 102-86