MANILA, Philippines - San Miguel weathered repeated rallies all game long to shut down San Mig Coffee, 97-88 in the PLDT Home TVolution PBA Commissioner's Cup on Saturday, April 12 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Back from a 15-day lay-off, the Beermen appeared as if they did not miss a beat to tighten their hold of the No. 2 spot in the team standings with a 6-2 card. The Mixers meanwhile dropped to 4-3.
Marcio Lassiter shot 50% from three-point land to finish with 19 points and 4 assists, helping the Beermen keep San Mig at bay while Kevin Jones led everyone with 26 markers.
"We did our best to use that time wisely and prepare for a two-time champ. Regardless of the standings, I still believe San Mig is the team to beat," said SMB active consultant Todd Purves.
And although the second twice-to-beat incentive may already be secured, Purves says they're taking it just one step at a time.
"We are just focusing on the next game. We're not done yet in the elimination."
"Although Sol (Mercado) only scored 1 point, he defended the guys well especially in the last stretch," added head coach Biboy Ravanes.
Kevin Jones hit his first four shots as the Beermen got off to a rousing start; Marcio Lassiter then poured 9 points in the second period that gave San Miguel their biggest edge at 50-38 before entering the break.
Marc Pingris also left the game in the second quarter after complaining about pain on his left ribs he possibly sustained after a collision with June Mar Fajardo in that period.
Chris Ross then fueled the Beermen assault early in the third, cruising for fastbreak buckets that made it a 63-45 bubble.
But Peter June Simon, James Yap, and Joe Devance quickly responded, conspiring for an 11-3 run that brought the lead down to 9,
From there it was a see-saw battle, but a 9-2 run highlighted by triples each from Jones, Lassiter, and Arwind Santos turned an 88-79 lead into an insurmountable 97-81, 3:36 to go.
The Mixers were never able to bounce back after that point, going scoreless in the next two minutes.
SMB did a better job in the rebounding department, grabbing 51 boards including 20 offensive compared to only 44 and 15 for San Mig Coffee. This translated into 15 second chance points for Ravanes' wards.
The Beermen also took advantage of 16 Mixer turnovers that became 20 points of their own.
James Mays had a relatively silent game for the Mixers, finishing with just 15 points and 14 rebounds as Coach Tim Cone's troops lost 3 of their last 4 outings.
San Miguel (97) - Jones 26, Lassiter 19, Ross 16, Fajardo 15, Kramer 8, Santos 7, Tubid 5, Mercado 1, Duncil 0, Hubalde 0, Lutz 0.
San Mig Coffee (88) - Mays 15, Simon 15, Sangalang 13, Devance 12, Barroca 11, Yap 9, Pingris 6, De Ocampo 2, Mallari 2, Reavis 2, Melton 1.
Quarterscores: 25-23, 50-42, 78-69, 97-88.