Shorthanded Beermen still too much for Hotshots
Minus their two MVPs, the San Miguel Beermen still showed their lethal form and outclassed the Star Hotshots, fashioning out a 117-98 rout that spoke well of their good chance at contending for a third straight PBA crown.
Even sans Junmar Fajardo and Arwind Santos, the Beermen came out strong from a 10-day respite, snapping the Hotshots’ three-game streak and sustaining their own hot charge to close in on the pacesetting Meralco Bolts entering the homestretch of the Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup elimination round.
Before a good Easter Sunday crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Tyler Wilkerson and Marcio Lassiter used their hot shooting hands to lead the Beermen to the key win that got the team within half game of the Bolts (6-2).
Wilkerson exploded for eight three-pointers and a total of 44 points while Lassiter rifled in six treys and ended up with a total of 25 as San Miguel nailed a fifth win in its last six games and improved to 5-2 overall.
Chris Ross also stepped up, churning out a near triple-double job with 11 markers, 10 assists and nine boards.
James Yap hurting his right calf in the third period and failing to return didn’t help as the Hotshots moved out of the Magic Eight with a 4-5 slate.
Mark Barroca joined Yap on the sideline in the last 6:00 mark on a sixth and last foul with the Hotshots trailing 82-96.
Wilkerson knocked down four triples to spike a 22-point output as the Beermen carried a 54-45 lead into the final half.
Then Lassiter took over, bombing away five treys as San Miguel broke the game wide, wide open at 71-49.
The Beermen slowly built momentum in the second period as Alex Cabagnot, Ryan Arana, Brian Heruela and Ross pitched in essential help.
Yap came out smoking, firing away 15 markers as the Hotshots trailed by only two, 30-32, at the end of the opening quarter.
The Beermen led by as many as 11, 54-43, before settling for the nine-point halftime separation.
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