San Miguel Beermen survive NLEX in overtime to gain league lead

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - The San Miguel Beermen had more left in the tank in overtime, turning back a spirited challenge from the NLEX Road Warriors, 88-80, at the Cuneta Astrodome to capture solo first place in the 2016 PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday, December 9.

With two-time MVP June Mar Fajardo limited to just 9 points and 9 rebounds, Yancy De Ocampo stepped up for San Miguel, scoring 17 points on 5-9 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds. Alex Cabagnot added 17 as well while Ronald Tubid scored 14 and Arwind Santos contributed 9.

Jonas Villanueva and Asi Taulava both scored 20 for NLEX while Sean Anthony scored 12.

San Miguel is now 8-1 in the All-Filipino conference, moving half a game ahead of the 7-1 Alaska Aces, while NLEX falls to 4-5.

Despite their records, the Road Warriors gave the the defending Philippine Cup champions all they could handle late in regulation.

San Miguel found itself without Fajardo with less than a minute left in regulation after he fouled out while trying to defend Asi Taulava. San Miguel was still in good position with 25.2 left to play after a Cabagnot layup put the Beermen up 5, 78-73. That'd be the last time in regulation that San Miguel scored.

Taulava knocked down a pair of free throws to cut into the lead. Anthony, who has helped revive the Road Warriors after returning to the club, stripped De Ocampo and found Villanueva for the 3-pointer to tie the game at 78-all with 13.4 left to play. San Miguel had one more opportunity to end matters, but Cabagnot missed a well-contested 3-pointer near the buzzer.

Early in overtime, it was Taulava's turn to sit down for the rest of the night after he fouled out with 20 points and 6 rebounds.

Arwind Santos put the final nail in the coffin with a 3-pointer at the top of the key to put San Miguel Beer up 88-80 with 30 seconds to play.

Scores:

San Miguel 88 - De Ocampo 17, Cabagnot 17, Tubid 14, Santos 9, Fajardo 9, Arana 9, Heruela 7, Reyes 4, Lutz 2, Omolon 0, Ross 0.

NLEX 80 - Villanueva J. 20, Taulava 20, Anthony 12, Borboran 10, Villanueva E. 8, Enciso 6, Lanete 2, Khobuntin 1, Reyes 1, Alas 0, Camson 0.  

Quarter scores: 20-10, 37-34, 59-56, 78-78, 88-80. – Rappler.com