San Miguel Beer halts Star Hotshots’ winning streak

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MAD SCRAMBLE Al Thorton of NLEX battles for the ball against Malcom Jaleel Rhett of Blackwater during a PBA Commissioner’s Cup game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday. NLEX beat Blackwater 88-75. PHOTO BY CZEASAR DANCEL

MAD SCRAMBLE
Al Thorton of NLEX battles for the ball against Malcom Jaleel Rhett of Blackwater during a PBA Commissioner’s Cup game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday. NLEX beat Blackwater 88-75. PHOTO BY CZEASAR DANCEL

The San Miguel Beermen stopped the Purefoods Star Hotshots’ three-game winning streak with a convincing 117-98 victory on Easter Sunday in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

Tyler Wilkerson led San Miguel Beer’s offense with a game-high 44 points plus 17 re-bounds while Marcio Lassiter contributed 25 points including six three pointers. The Beermen’s win-loss record improved to 5-2.

Wilkerson and Lassiter were supported by Alex Cabagnot who posted 13 points and point guard Chris Ross who notched a near triple-double of 11 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

San Miguel Beer beat the Star Hotshots in three-point shooting (15-7), steals (9-5) and assists (17-12). The Hotshots had 23 turnovers, which the Beermen transformed to 23 points.


The Beermen, after establishing a 32-30 lead in first period, initiated a 22-15 run in sec-ond quarter to extend their advantage to 54-45 heading into the second half behind Wilkerson’s outstanding performance.

Lassiter scored 18 points in the third frame via 5-of-8 shooting in the three-point zone bringing the score to 85-71 at the start of the fourth quarter en route to a resounding win.

“First of all, we dedicate this game to Arwind [San¬tos]. You know what happened to his mother,” said San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria pertaining to the recent death of San-tos’ mother. “I’m really happy with the way we play without our other key players.”

“The players helped each other and that was really good.”

Besides Santos, June Mar Fajardo with a swollen knee and shooting guard Ronald Tubid with a bruised knee bone also missed the game.

Import Ricardo Ratliffe led the Star Hotshots with 33 points and 21 rebounds.

The Hotshots’ win-loss record dropped to 4-5.

In the first game, import Al Thornton and veteran Paul Asi Taulava joined forces to lead the Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) to an 88-75 victory over Blackwater.

Thornton finished with 22 points via 7-of-15 shooting in the field on top of eight re-bounds and a block. Taulava notched 22 points, 15 rebounds and four assists.

Sean Anthony contributed 15 points and eight rebounds while Kevin Alas posted 10 points for the Road Warriors. NLEX is now sharing the sixth to ninth places with Ma-hindra, Rain or Shine and Talk ‘N Text that are also carrying a 4-4 win-loss records.

“It’s really our defense that stepped up today,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fer¬nandez dur-ing the post game interview. “Our goal is to limit Blackwater to 90 points below. In the past few games, we’re allowing opponents to score on us.”

“Credit to all but total team effort in this game. We’re looking forward to our next game, which is GlobalPort and then San Miguel Beer. The goal is to make it to the quarters,” he added.

NLEX shot more accurately than Blackwater overall in the field (43-31 percent) but the Elite posted more rebounds (58-50) and suffered 18 turnovers the entire game.

After leading 18-12 at the end of the first period, the Road Warriors, behind the on-slaught of Taulava and Thornton established a 42-32 edge at half time. Blackwater fought back in the second half to narrow the gap 60-66 by the end of the third frame.

But Thornton’s devastating 11-1 rally with a spectacular dunk provided the Road Warri-ors with an insurmountable 81-69 lead with still 2:43 left in the game.

The Elite’s win-loss record, after absorbing their third straight setback, fell to 3-6.

Rookie Arthur Dela Cruz finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds for Blackwater while import Malcolm Rhett posted 14 points and 18 rebounds. Blackwater’s top scorer Carlo Lastimosa notched a measly six points while Reil Cervantes contributed 11 points.

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