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PBA: Beermen survive in OT

by Waylon Galvez

Games Tomorrow (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
5:45 p.m. – Alaska vs Air21
8 p.m. – Globalport vs San Mig Super Coffee

Manila, Philippines – San Miguel Beer survived another thrilling encounter to slip past Barako Bull, 115-112, in overtime for its third straight victory in the PLDT Home Telpad PBA Governors’ Cup last night at the Alonte Sports Center in Binan, Laguna.

Import Reggie Williams and Sol Mercado connected from rainbow territory during the extra five-minute period before star center June Mar Fajardo scored a crucial three-point to propel the Beermen to a 3-1 record in the season-ending conference.

Williams topscored with 33 points while Fajardo added 26 for San Miguel, which played minus Marcio Lassiter after sustaining wounds during Sunday’s 92-90 victory over San Mig Super Coffee.

“I’m very happy to get the win. Every game in the PBA is tough, I’m proud of the guys tonight for getting in there and hanging tough,” said San Miguel consultant Todd Purves.

The Beermen were forced to an extension by the Energy Cola, who even took a 105-103 lead.

But Williams drained back-to-back triples and Mercado added another to put San Miguel ahead, 112-105, with 1:52 remaining.

Barako charged back with Mick Pennisi and Ronjay Buenafe also hitting from long range, reducing SMB’s lead down to 112-111, 1:11 to go.

Fajardo responded with a three-point play off Pennisi’s sixth-and-last foul for a 115-111 edge.

The Energy Cola pulled within three on Jason Deutchmann’s split from the foul line, then gained an opportunity to extend the game to a second overtime when Mercado missed both free throws with nine seconds left.

However, Barako’s rookie guard Jeric Fortuna muffed a contested three at the buzzer, giving San Miguel the victory.

“It feels good to get a couple of wins. Barako Bull is well-coached (by Siot Tanquingcen) and they also grinded it out (last night),” said Purves, who shares the coaching responsibilities with head mentor Biboy Ravanes.

Chris Ross and reigning Most Valuable Player Arwind Santos added 10 points apiece for the Beermen.

Import Eric Wise led Barako Bull with 33 points. Pennisi finished with 20 points while Leo Najorda came off the bench to score 12 markers.

Buenafe and Fortuna added 10 points each but Barako fell to 1-3.