San Miguel clinches 2nd semis berth

MANILA, Philippines – With the promise of an outright semifinal berth and their first top spot finish in 20 years, the San Miguel Beermen breezed past the hapless Blackwater Elite, 91-62, in the 2015 PBA Philippine Cup on Tuesday, December 9 at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.

The Beermen zoomed to first place in the standings with a 9-2 record and overtook Rain or Shine due to superior quotient. They are automatically into the semifinals.

"I think the team, nagkaisa kami eh (we united). We're on the same page because we want to get the number one slot in the semis," said head coach Leo Austria.

This is also the first time in 20 years that San Miguel emerged atop the standings at the end of the eliminations of an all-Filipino conference, according to PBA Head Statistician Fidel Mangonon III.

"At the start of the season I didn't know that we will become number one at the end of the eliminations," Austria said. "It's a new system that I applied to the team but I'm happy that the team is embracing the new system."

Every player fielded in for San Miguel contributed at least a point to the lopsided victory.

Ronald Tubid had the most points with 18 - 14 of which he poured in the final frame - while Sol Mercado and June Mar Fajardo had 15 and 14 markers, respectively. Reigning MVP Fajardo added 9 rebounds and 4 blocks.

The Beermen wasted no time burying the Elite and made sure they wouldn't have to weather an upset as they quickly established a double-digit 50-31 advantage at halftime.

Shooting 9 triples and a total of 46% from the field, San Miguel was unstoppable and went on to lead by as much as 31, 87-56, early in the fourth.

Putting in the work on both sides of the ball, the Beermen limited the expansion team to just 29% field goal shooting. Blackwater also never scored more than 18 points in any of the quarters.

Eddie Laure was the only Blackwater player in double figures with 10 points. Alex Nuyles and Bryan Faundo had just 9 and 8 points, respectively, as the Elite wrapped up its first PBA conference winless after 11 games.

Scores:

SAN MIGUEL BEER (91): Tubid 18, Mercado 15, Fajardo 14, Lassiter 9, Santos 9, Pascual 6, Lutz 5, Chua 4, Maierhofer 2, Ross 2, Fortuna 2, Omolon 2, Semerad 2, Kramer 1.

BLACKWATER (62): Laure 10, Nuyles 9, Faundo 8, Tiongson 7, Timberlake 6, Austria 5, Erram 4, Acuna 4, Celiz 3, Ballesteros 3, Gamalinda 3, Artadi 0.

Quarter scores: 19-13, 50-31, 70-45, 91-62.

– Rappler.com