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PBA: Beermen survive Barako

Arizona Reid

Games Tomorrow (Smart Araneta)
4:15 p.m. – Blackwater vs Meralco
7 p.m. – Talk ‘N Text vs Globalport

One streak has ended, while another had just begun.

Ronald Tubid struck for 12 of San Miguel’s 13 points during a key run in the fourth quarter and the Beermen snapped Barako Bull’s amazing start in the PBA Governors’ Cup, 116-113, last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

After a string of four wins, Barako Bull ran into a red-hot Tubid, who torched the Energy with three 3-pointers, including one which Gabby Espinas turned into a 4-point play, and a 2 points plus 1 in the final 8:52, erasing a 93-92 deficit and giving SMB a 105-99 advantage with 6:11 left.

Marcio Lassiter then came off the bench to hit a huge 3-pointer with 1:06 to go, making it 110-108 for SMB, and Arizona Reid had four straight points and provided a defensive gem in the end as the Beermen (4-2) outscored the Energy, 6-2, in the last 30 seconds in extending their winning streak to four.

Junemar Fajardo had 22 points for SMB, 14 coming in the third quarter, despite picking up his third foul early in the second period. Reid poured the same output, with 9 coming in the fourth, while Lassiter added 18 and Tubid 13 points.

Reid sealed the win with a block on 3-point shooting Dylan Ababou with 6.8 seconds to go.

Barako Bull kept solo leadership but the Alaska Aces (3-1) could pull alongside with a victory over the Star Hotshots later at presstime.

“We lost our focus when we got that 11-point lead,” said Barako Bull coach Koy Banal, who had 7-foot Canadian import Liam McMorrow on the bench resting when SMB rallied from 75-66 early in the third quarter to within 82-81.

McMorrow muscled his way to 25 rebounds and 31 points, 15 coming in the first quarter where he obliterated the defense of Fajardo and Jay-R Reyes. Astoundingly, he appeared to have more trouble tangling with the agile 6-foot-3 Espinas, who stood up to the bearded former hockey player through trash talks and jaw hits.

Twice the two had to be separated and McMorrow had a grand time ripping Espinas after the Energy forward missed two free throws late in the third and two more to start the fourth.

Espinas also found himself at the losing end of a hilarious situation halfway in the second quarter when Barako’s Rico Maierhofer lost a right shoe after a basket. With no time to slip it back on, Maierhofer sprinted back on defense and was under the basket when Espinas got past his nemesis McMorrow and went up for a reverse layup.

But in a play that baffled even the referees, who let the situation go, Maierhofer, with shoe in hand, swatted at Espinas’ shot and appeared to hit the ball with it, sparking a howl from the SMB bench.

SMB coach Leo Austria said he believed that as comical as the play was, it also was illegal.

“Kung puwede pala ‘yon, huhubarin ko na lang sando ko tapos hahatawin ko yung bola o kaya babatuhin ko,” said Austria.

Nonetheless, Austria paid tribute to the Energy.

Tubid’s first 3-pointer was in itself part of a rarity.

SAN MIGUEL 116 – Fajardo 22, Reid 22, Lassiter 18, Tubid 13, Ross 12, Cabagnot 11, Espinas 8, Reyes 4, Lutz 2, Omolon 2, Santos 2.

BARAKO BULL 113 – McMorrow 31, Yeo 25, Intal 14, Lanete 12, Maierhofer 10, Pascual 8, Garcia 6, Wilson 3, Lastimosa 2, Chua 2, Ababou 0.

Quarters: 30-33, 55-59, 87-86, 116-113