San Miguel caught fire early and built enough cushion to hold off Barangay Ginebra, 107-103, in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Terrence Watson impressed in his debut as he unloaded 28 points, 17 rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and a steal.
Watson, the Beermen’s third import this conference, replaced the underwhelming Terik Bridgeman.
Arwind Santos also continued his stellar showing, pouring in 23 markers built on three 3-pointers off the bench while Chris Ross got 20 points, five assists, four boards, and four steals while also defending Ginebra import Justin Brownlee.
But it was Alex Cabagnot, who came to the rescue for San Miguel (5-3), drilling the killer jumper with 54.1 seconds to spare and the final free throws to put the Gin Kings away. He finished with 16 markers, five assists, and three rebounds.
“Before this game, I was really worried because Ginebra has been playing well. But my players really showed what they got and I’m really proud of them,” said coach Leo Austria.
June Mar Fajardo posted 10 points and 15 rebounds as he, Watson, and Ross triggered the Beermen’s early assault that had them leading, 30-16, in the first quarter before extending it to as high as 26, 59-33 early in the third quarter.
Japeth Aguilar paced Ginebra (7-2) with 18 points and seven rebounds, LA Tenorio flirted with a triple-double with 17 markers, seven boards, and six dimes, and Greg Slaughter had 16 points and seven rebounds in the loss.
The San Miguel defense, anchored by Ross, kept Brownlee in check as he was held to only 14 markers on 7-of-18 shooting from the field, to go with 12 boards and seven assists.
SAN MIGUEL 107 – Watson 28, Santos 23, Ross 20, Cabagnot 16, Fajardo 10, Lassiter 7, Rosser 3, Heruela 0, De Ocampo 0.
GINEBRA 103 – J. Aguilar 18, Tenorio 17, Slaughter 16, Brownlee 14, Ferrer 11, Thompson 7, Caguioa 3, Mercado 2, R. Aguilar 0, Taha 0.
Quarters: 30-16, 56-33, 87-65, 107-103.