Defending champion San Miguel Beer relied on a strong start to pull off a 106-80 rout of Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and grab the solo lead in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup at the Xavier University gym in Cagayan De Oro City on Saturday.
The Beermen banked on the scoring prowess of three-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, forward Arwind Santos and combo guard Alex Cabagnot to stretch their winning streak to three and improve their win-loss record to 4-1.
Cabagnot finished with 18 points, four rebounds and four assists, while the 6’10 Fajardo added 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the field on top of 12 rebounds and five blocks.
Santos had 15 points; eight rebounds and two blocks, while Ryan Roose Garcia and Ronald Tubid had 12 and 11 points, respectively, also for San Miguel Beer.
The Beermen enjoyed a 31-19 lead in the first quarter after exploiting the Road Warriors’ porous defense.
San Miguel Beer initiated a 29-18 run highlighted by the baskets of Santos and Garcia resulting in a 60-37 advantage at the halftime break. Garcia scored 12 points and Santos 10 in the first half.
The Beermen continued to dominate the second half with a 22-16 run en route to an 82-53 lead after the third period. San Miguel Beer was never threatened from that point onward.
Brian Huruela gave SMB its biggest lead, 84-55, during the early going of the fourth period.
Kevin Alas, Bradwyn Guinto and Jonas Villanueva led NLEX with 12 points each. The Road Warriors suffered its fourth straight defeat for a 1-4 win-loss record.
Meanwhile, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters are keen to halt the winning streak of the Star Hotshots today at 4:30 p.m. The match between the Alaska Aces and the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings will follow at 6:30 p.m. at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters, with a 3-1 win-loss record, are aiming for back-to-back victories.
The Hotshots carry a 2-2 win-loss record while the Gin Kings and the Aces are both holding identical 2-2 win-loss records.
San Miguel 106 – Cabagnot 18, Fajardo 15, Santos 15, Garcia 12, Tubid 11, Lassiter 11, Espinas 7, Reyes 6, Heruela 5, De Ocampo 4, Ross 2, Van Opstal 0, Agovida 0, McCarthy 0.
NLEX 80 – Alas 12, Guinto 12, J. Villanueva 12, Soyud 11, Lastimosa 8, Taulava 7, Gotladera 6, Anthony 4, Khobuntin 4, Rios 4, Monfort 0, Camson 0, Lanete 0, Baracael 0.
Quarter Scores: 31-19, 60-37, 82-53, 106-80