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PBA: SMB raps Elite, gains quarters

San Miguel's Arwind Santos (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

San Miguel’s Arwind Santos (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

by Jonas Terrado

Games Tomorrow (Cuneta Astrodome)
4:30 p.m. – Alaska vs Phoenix
7 p.m. – GlobalPort vs Ginebra

The defending champion San Miguel Beermen bucked a slow start behind the hot shooting of Marcio Lassiter to cruise past Blackwater Elite, 115-106, and clinch a quarterfinals berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Lassiter scored 15 of his 18 points in the first half as the Beermen erased an 11-0 deficit at the start before building a commanding lead on their way to becoming the first team to qualify for the quarterfinals of the midseason conference.

San Miguel improved to 6-4 but no longer has a chance at secure a twice-to-beat advantage even if it ends up in a four-way tie for second at 7-4 with Alaska, TNT KaTropa and Meralco due to an inferior quotient.

Alaska and TNT currently share second place at 7-3 while Meralco ended its elims campaign at 7-4.

“We had a slow start but I think the players were determined to formalize our entry to the quarterfinals,” said Beermen coach Leo Austria.

The Beermen close their elims campaign at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Saturday against the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok.

SMB needs a victory to secure a best-of-three series and avoid falling to a predicament of having to erase a twice-to-beat disadvantage if it finishes seventh or eighth.

Arwind Santos topscored with 23 points while grabbing 15 rebounds, Kelly Nabong made 13 points.

SAN MIGUEL 115 – Santos 23, Lassiter 18, Nabong 13, Balkman 12, Cabagnot 12, Fajardo 10, Heruela 10, Ross 7, Pessumal 6, Mamaril 2, Vigil 2, Rosser 0.

BLACKWATER 106 – Walker 26, Digregorio 19, Pinto 13, Zamar 11, Banal 11, Al-Hussaini 10, Jose 6, Sena 4, Javier 2, Palma 2, Cortez 2, Maliksi 0.

Quarters: 28-34; 57-49; 84-70; 115-106.

Second Game
Magnolia 116 – Chism 27, Lee 21, Barroca 15, Ramos 11, Jalalon 10, Brondial 10, Sangalang 9, Mendoza 5, Melton 3, Reavis 2, Dela Rosa 2, Herndon 1, Simon 0, Abundo 0.

NLEX 89 – Ashaolu 31, Tallo 19, Buenafe 12, Quinahan 9, Ighalo 6, Soyud 6, Uyloan 3, Tiongson 2, Baguio 1, Marcelo 0, Monfort 0, Rios 0, Gotladera 0.

Quarters: 34-18, 54-40, 85-77, 116-89.

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