SMB comes from behind to roll over TNT


Saudi Gazette

MANILA — It took the San Miguel Beermen just one huge scoring spurt in the end game to turn back the TNT KaTropa Texters with an 88-76 victory in a PBA Philippine Cup road game in Iloilo City Saturday night.

Trailing for most parts of the game, the three-time defending champions unleashed a devastating 17-5 run in the last five minutes of the game en route to their third straight victory. SMB remains the only unbeaten team in the tournament as it firmed up its hold of the top spot in the standings.

Significantly, the victory snapped SMB’s six-game losing streak against TNT in road games. The Texters suffered their second loss in three games.

Reigning four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo led the Beermen with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting on top of six rebounds, three blocks, and one steal in over 34 minutes of play.

However, it was the duo of Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos that allowed SMB to pull away from a tight contest as they sparked that scorching run in the last five minutes of the game. Santos finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks, one assist, and one steal in nearly 36 minutes. He scored seven of those points in the last three minutes, first on his patented pull-up jumper, followed by a three-pointer that broke the backs of the rallying Texters, and then a slam dunk coupled with a Spiderman act at the rim to put an exclamation mark on the SMB victory.

Marcio Lassiter also scored 15 points even though he missed all his five three-point attempts. He also collected eight boards, three steals, and two assists.

Cabagnot also had a double-double 11 points and 12 boards along with two assists, and one block in 38 minutes. SMB’s deadly shooting guard scored five of his points in SMB’s late-game run.

The Texters had a hot start and led the Beermen by 10 points at the end of the first quarter, 24-14. They stayed in the lead at the half, 36-35, and were still up, 61-58, entering the fourth quarter. However, TNT faltered in the homestretch as Santos and Cabagnot led a furious charge.

Troy Rosario top-scored for TNT with 15 points on top of 13 rebounds. Mo Tautuaa and Roger Pogoy added 12 and 11 markers, respectively.

TNT star Jayson Castro finished with just nine points on a mediocre 3-of-16 shooting from the field. He also had four turnovers in 28 minutes as SMB’s defenders ganged up on him. Castro did collect eight rebounds and eight assists to compensate for his shooting woes.

Games Sunday: Kia Picanto (0-3) vs. Alaska Aces (1-2) and Magnolia Hotshots (2-1) vs. NLEX Road Warriors (2-1).