The San Miguel Beermen beat Meralco, 102-86, to bag the last Final Four slot in the 40th Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup on Monday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Import Arizona Reid posted 29 points along with 11 rebounds and six assists while big man June Mar Fajardo had 22 points and 16 rebounds with two blocks. Mario Lassiter notched 12 of his 17 points in the final canto.
“I’m really happy that the players have responded well to the challenge tonight,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria.
San Miguel Beer started hot in the first quarter establishing a 30-18 lead before the second period starts. Arwind Santos and Reid were in total control early in the game posting 15 and 13 points, respectively, to give SMB a 49-42 halftime advantage.
But the Bolts refused to bow down and cut San Miguel Beer’s lead to only 64-63, after a blistering 23-18 run with only few minutes left before the end of the third frame.
The Beermen forced the Bolts to commit two straight errors that resulted in Lassiter scoring a three-pointer and Reid an easy lay-up for an 83-73 lead. Fajardo stretched the lead to 14 points when he scored two consecutive baskets down the stretch, 87-73, with less than five minutes left in the game.
San Miguel Beer stayed in control until the last three minute keeping their double-digit lead all the way.
Shooting guard Ronald Tubid scored a triple further beefing up San Miguel Beer’s lead to 91-79, before the last two-minute mark.
Meralco forced a do-or-die game in the quarterfinals following its 106-99 victory on Saturday over San Miguel Beer.
With the win, San Miguel Beer will battle Rain or Shine in the Final Four on Thursday, which will be a reunion for Reid and his former Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao.
Andre Emmet scored 28 points and 12 rebounds for Meralco. JOSEPH RAMOS