Beermen drub KaTropa for 1-0 lead in semis

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09:17 PM February 8th, 2017

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By: Mark Giongco, February 8th, 2017 09:17 PM

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Top seed San Miguel Beer unleashed a deadly inside and out game for a masterful win over TNT, 111-98, and take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-7 semifinals series in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Beermen shot the lights out, making 16 out of their 26 three-point attempts with Marcio Lassiter hitting four and Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos sinking three each.

But it wasn’t just San Miguel’s outside game that clicked.

With the KaTropa wary of The Beermen’s shooting, big men June Mar Fajardo and Gabby Espinas went to work down low. Fajardo got going in the second half and finished with 21 points and eight rebounds while Espinas added 13 points off the bench.

“I’m happy with our first win because a first win is very important in any series,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria, whose team pushed its winning run to 11 games.

“I was relatively worried at the start of the game because we’ve won 10 consecutive games and I can sense that sooner or later we’re going to lose,” said Austria. “But we’re not after our winning streak, we’re out there to win. Time will come that we’re going to lose but I know the players won’t give anything up.”

Jayson Castro and Kelly Williams brought the KaTropa, who fell behind by as much as 18 early in the second quarter, within seven, 95-88, but Cabagnot responded with five unanswered points to make it, 100-88, after a walk-off 3-pointer with 5:25 left.

“They understand how to win and I told them they have the freedom to do whatever they want as long as they have control of the game,” said Austria. “They’re playing like an orchestra. They already know their roles.”

Cabagnot finished with 20 points, 15 of which came in the second half, and six rebounds.

Castro had a game-high 27 points while Williams tallied 24 points for TNT, which went just 6-of-26 from deep.

San Miguel got off to a quick 7-0 lead before taking a 34-16 advantage in the opening minute of the second quarter. The KaTropa cut it to five, 40-35, before the Beermen closed out the period strong behind Santos.

Santos had 15 points and six rebounds as six Beermen scored at least nine points.

Game 2 is on Friday, 7 p.m., at Mall of Asia Arena.Top seed San Miguel Beer unleashed a deadly inside and out game for a masterful win over TNT, 111-98, and take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-7 semifinals series in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Beermen shot the lights out, making 16 out of their 26 three-point attempts with Marcio Lassiter hitting four and Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos sinking three each.

But it wasn’t just San Miguel’s outside game that clicked.

With the KaTropa wary of The Beermen’s shooting, big men June Mar Fajardo and Gabby Espinas went to work down low. Fajardo got going in the second half and finished with 21 points and eight rebounds while Espinas added 13 points off the bench.

“I’m happy with our first win because a first win is very important in any series,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria, whose team pushed its winning run to 11 games.

“I was relatively worried at the start of the game because we’ve won 10 consecutive games and I can sense that sooner or later we’re going to lose,” said Austria. “But we’re not after our winning streak, we’re out there to win. Time will come that we’re going to lose but I know the players won’t give anything up.”

Jayson Castro and Kelly Williams brought the KaTropa, who fell behind by as much as 18 early in the second quarter, within seven, 95-88, but Cabagnot responded with five unanswered points to make it, 100-88, after a walk-off 3-pointer with 5:25 left.

“They understand how to win and I told them they have the freedom to do whatever they want as long as they have control of the game,” said Austria. “They’re playing like an orchestra. They already know their roles.”

Cabagnot finished with 20 points, 15 of which came in the second half, and six rebounds.

Castro had a game-high 27 points while Williams tallied 24 points for TNT, which went just 6-of-26 from deep.

San Miguel got off to a quick 7-0 lead before taking a 34-16 advantage in the opening minute of the second quarter. The KaTropa cut it to five, 40-35, before the Beermen closed out the period strong behind Santos.

Santos had 15 points and six rebounds as six Beermen scored at least nine points.

Game 2 is on Friday, 7 p.m., at Mall of Asia Arena.

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