SAN Miguel Beer survived a giant scare from NorthPort, 114-107, on Wednesday night to give its bid at a playoff berth in the PBA Governors Cup a major boost.
Kevin Murphy scored 27 points while Christian Standhardinger had 21 points and 22 rebounds for the Beermen, who led by as many as 19 points but had to endure several anxious moments in the endgame at the Astrodome in Pasay City.
With a third successive victory in the bag, the Beermen improved to 5-4 (win-loss) with four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo nearing his return after over two months out due to a stress fracture on his foot.
“I know from the start that it won’t be an easy win,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria. “We were thinking that NorthPort still has a chance although very slim. They want to have a game na malalaman na talagang sila lumalaban hanggang huli.”
“After winning two big games, we were a little bit lax because it’s very obvious that our defense was not that strong,” Austria added.
The Beermen looked to be cruising to victory, taking a 76-57 lead before NorthPort caught fire. A three-pointer and an acrobatic layup by Jonathan Grey off Murphy tied the game at 94-all.
However, SMB put out the fire just as quickly.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Marcio Lassiter and Chris Ross gave the Beermen separation before a putback by Standhardinger ended the threat.
Sean Anthony scored 24 points while Stanley Pringle added 21 points for NorthPort, which fell to 2-8.
San Miguel 114 – Murphy 27, Standhardinger 21, Cabagnot 17, Lassiter 16, Ross 14, Santos 7, Nabong 7, De Ocampo 5, Heruela 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.
NorthPort 107 – Anthony 24, Pringle 21, Grey 18, Woods 14, Tautuaa 6, Elorde 6, Espinas 4, Gabayni 4, Javelona 3, Arana 3, Flores 2, Guinto 2, Fortuna 0.
Quarters: 24-19; 58-52; 88-79; 114-107.