MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The San Miguel Beermen demolished Barangay Ginebra, 102-90, to draw first blood in their best-of-7 semifinals series of the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum, Friday, March 9.
Arwind Santos scored 23 points, all coming in the first 3 periods, to go with 8 rebounds and 3 assists to help the Beermen exact revenge on the Gin Kings following their 96-100 loss last January 28 in the elimination round.
San Miguel held a slim 26-20 lead after the maiden frame before burying Ginebra by as much as 19 points in the middle quarters, 64-45.
Ginebra would get to as close as 12 points with 4 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, 82-94, but San Miguel closed doors on any possible comeback thanks to back-to-back triples from Marcio Lassiter and Von Pessumal.
Pessumal finished with 18 points on top of 3 rebounds and two assists while Lassiter buried 5 treys en route to 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
"I think in a series, it’s very important to win your first game. Kung titingnan nyo 'yung mga stats, malaki ang chances na ang nanalo ng first game sa championship. But we cannot rest on our laurels," said San Miguel head coach Leo Austria.
Reigning 4-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo had only 9 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and two blocks against 4 turnovers but that hardly affected the Beermen, who scattered 34 assists to Ginebra's 18.
San Miguel shot a stellar 50.6% from the field, highlighted by 16 triples.
Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson and Sol Mercado each scored 17 points for Ginebra, which saw its 3-game winning streak halted.
San Miguel (102): Santos 23, Pessumal 18, Lassiter 17, Cabagnot 15, Fajardo 9, Ganuelas-Rosser 8, Ross 6, Heruela 4, Espinas 2, De Ocampo 0, Semerad 0
Ginebra (90): J. Aguilar 17, Mercado 17, Thompson 17, Mariano 12, Caperal 8, Tenorio 6, Ferrer 5, Cruz 4, Devance 4, R. Aguilar 0, Manuel 0, Taha 0
Quarter scores: 26-20, 50-41, 78-63, 102-90
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.