Shabazz Muhammad on explosion
The former NBA player erupted for 45 points in the third and fourth quarters combined as the Beermen overcame a 26-point deficit in the third period to hack out a rousing 115-110 victory that assured them of a place in the quarterfinals of the PBA Governors Cup.
Muhammad finished with a game-high 57 points in torching the Bolts, the team he was supposed to play for at the beginning of the conference.
He was 5-of-9 from three-point range and 18-of-29 from the field in a scorching performance that is the most in the league since San Miguel import Tyler Wilkerson dropped 58 against NLEX in a 131-127 triple overtime win in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup.
Muhammad added 19 rebounds in San Miguel’s second straight win that improved its record to 7-4.
As easy as it appeared to be, but Muhammad said he had to take matters into his own hands in the third period when everything began to look bleak for the Beermen.
“First off, we didn’t really want to get into that position. It’s tough,” he said of having to battle his team back from that 46-72 deficit.
“But once my jumper gets going, it’s pretty tough to stop me.”
The Beermen took the cue from their import and began shutting down the Bolts defensively, with only import Tony Bishop and Chris Banchero answering the call for Meralco down the stretch.
“When he started really playing hard in the third and fourth quarter, we really turned it around,” said the 29-year-old Muhammad. “We got a couple of plays down the stretch and everything worked out for us.”
Muhammad stressed he wasn’t sending any message to Meralco with his explosive performance, given that their initial partnership didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to be.
“It’s crazy because it happened like that,” he said. “But they’re a really good sport. I like playing here a lot, and hopefully down the future, maybe I can…”
For the moment though, the focus is bringing Sa Miguel deep into the playoffs.
“Right now we’re really happy with the win, and we’re looking forward to the playoffs,” said Muhammad.
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