SAN Miguel took first blood of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals after beating Alaska, 92-79, in Game One on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Beermen had a balanced attack, getting contributions from starters Alex Cabagnot and June Mar Fajardo, to the second stringers led by Arwind Santos, Kelly Nabong, and Christian Standhardinger to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
The match also saw Vic Manuel limited to 16 points, snapping a personal run of 11 straight 20-point games.
San Miguel went on a 10-2 run midway in the second quarter, before starting out seven straight points in the third to widen the gap and take command of the match.
“In a series, this is the important game, ‘yung first game. As much as possible, we want to win the first game to dictate the tempo and for them to think hard for their adjustment,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.
Fajardo had 17 points and nine rebounds, while Cabagnot had 15 points. Renaldo Balkman also had 13 points and 11 rebounds for San Miguel.
The Beermen also got 11 points for Nabong, who was traded from GlobalPort to San Miguel midway in the conference. Standhardinger played in his return from injury and played quality minutes, contributing nine markers.
Marcio Lassiter had 12 points including a triple to start off the third, before Fajardo hit back-to-back baskets to increase San Miguel’s lead to 59-41. Lassiter’s jumper added to San Miguel’s lead to 61-42, the biggest in the game.
Diamon Simpson had 31 points and 24 rebounds for the Aces in a losing cause. Aside from Calvin Abueva, Alaska played without Chris Banchero due to a pressing family emergency.
SMB 92 – Fajardo 17, Cabagnot 15, Balkman 13, Santos 12, Lassiter 12, Nabong 11, Standhardinger 9, Ross 3.
ALASKA 79 – Simpson 31, Manuel 16, Racal 7, Enciso 7, Teng 4, Thoss 2, Cruz 2, Baclao 0, R. Pascual, Galliguez 0.
Quarters: 25-24; 52-41; 75-65; 92-79.