By REYNALD MAGALLON
Jericho Cruz and Cameron Clark starred for San Miguel Beer as it flexed its full might anew and dealt Blackwater a 105-86 beating in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup at the PhilSports Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
The two took turns in the team’sfirst half onslaught that allowed the Beermen to establish a sizable margin which proved to be enough to cushion even a second half run from the Bossing.
It was Clark who started first for SMB dropping 10 of his 20 points in the first quarter before Cruz followed suit and took the mantle from Clark, also scattering 10 of his 22 points in the second period where the Beermen tore the game wide apart.
San Miguel dominated Blackwater in that span, exploding for 30 points with Cruz, June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez conspiring for a blistering 16-0 blasts that turned an already comfortable 14-point lead, 47-33 into a massive 30-point advantage, 63-33 late in the first half.
The Beermen also clamped down on the defensive end during that telling run limiting Blackwater to just 11 points during that stretch.
“The players are playing well and they are defending well. That’s why I think our offense is going up also because of our defense. In our motto we’re just bringing in our defensive to go to our offense. It’s the defense triggering our offense,” said head coach Jorge Gallent.
“It’s all the players, the energy is really high and I’m very happy and there are just certain times that it just goes down. It really happens but at least we are confident enough that we can bring up the lead again,” he added
June Mar Fajardo posted a double-double of 17 points and 16 rebounds while CJ Perez added 14 points, six rebounds and six assists. Marcio Lassiter also contributed 13 points spiked by three triples for SMB which now rose to a 2-0 record in the standings.
Shawn Glover was the lone bright spot for the Blackwater finishing with 16 points – 10 of which came in the third quarter when the Bossing showed some semblance of life when they outscored the Beermen, 33-20, to cut the lead down to just 17, 97-80 heading into the final frame.
ROS OUT TO FOIL CONVERGE
Converge looks to stay unbeaten and keep its hold of the early lead in the standings when it tangles against the still winless Rain or Shine on Thursday, Feb. 2.
The FiberXers aim to stretch its winning start to the conference to four games against an Elasto Painters side equally eager to get out of the slump and barge into the win column in their 6:45 p.m. encounter.
A fitting battle between the two winless teams also looking for a breakthrough in Phoenix and NorthPort also serves as the curtain raiser in the opening game at 4:30 p.m.
Although passing their most difficult test so far with flying colors after taking down Magnolia, 111-109 last Sunday, Jan 29, head coach Aldin Ayo is still far from satisfied from what he’s been seeing from his wards and hopes to have import Jamaal Franklin to get more familiar with their system.
“Possession by possession yung approach namin dun both offense and defense pero Jamaal is still adjusting dun sa sistema namin. Right now what I can say is we are very predictable,” said Ayo.