Decent debut for Singletary as Beermen escape Bolts
Mike Singletary had a decent debut as an SMB import, June Mar Fajardo had his usual double-double performance and the rest of the San Miguel core players played their part in a key win over Meralco that gave the Beermen automatic playoff passage.
Before a good Wednesday crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the Beermen outfought the Bolts, 110-106, to move back to joint second with the Mahindra Enforcers and the Barangay Ginebra Kings nearing the homestretch of the Governors Cup elimination round.
The Beermen set the pace most of the first three quarters and withstood the Bolts’ never-say-die stand in the final quarter to notch a sixth win against two losses.
Jared Dillinger tumbling over the baseline railing in chase of a loose ball best typified the great resolve of the Bolts.
But Dillinger and his teammates came up short in their bid, suffering a fourth loss against five wins.
Despite the loss, they stayed at fifth place but would be hard pressed to win all their remaining three games to get a shot at a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
In their own last three games in the elims, the Beermen fight for a Top Four finish with the help of an Asian import in Mahmoud Abdeen.
A member of the Jordan national team, Abdeen is to fly in Thursday. “He’s highly recommended by coach Rajko Toroman,” said SMB coach Leo Austria.
Singletary came through with 21 points and 20 rebounds in his initial game as an SMB import, Fajardo got away with 24 markers and 10 boards while Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot and Gary David contributed double-digit outputs.
Santos and Cabagnot made big shots at the finish as they scuttled Meralco’s bid for a come-from-behind triumph.
After playing catch-up basketball most of the way, the Bolts waged a decisive attack late in the third to pull abreast at 79-all.
The Bolts then surged ahead at 82-81 on a rare three-pointer by Kelly Nabong at the start of the payoff period.
The two teams engaged in a battle from there, with the Beermen squeezing through in the end on clutch buckets by Cabagnot and Santos.
Cabagnot fired a trey then a short jumper as the Beermen took a 106-99 lead with time down to 1:05.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.