San Miguel flexed its championship pedigree and booked its first win of the season via 110-93 demolition of NLEX in the elimination round of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, Friday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
New recruit CJ Perez led the Beermen charge with 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, to go along with 5 rebounds and 2 assists in 29 minutes of action.
The victory put the Leo Austria-mentored squad on the win column following an opening day loss to the Meralco Bolts.
“I’m so thankful for the players and the way they played tonight. From start to finish, they played defense and focused on the game. I think they realized the importance of this game,” said Austria during the post-game presser.
“I think this is the product of our preparation during the offseason. And we’re able to do all the things we need to do, especially on defense,” he added.
Alex Cabagnot filled in for injured guard Terrence Romeo and finished with 17 points while Mo Tautuaa added 16 points and 9 boards. Marcio Lassiter and June Mar Fajardo contributed 14 markers apiece while Von Pessumal chipped in 10.
Arwind Santos hauled down a game-high 12 rebounds on top of 9 points and 4 assists.
“Tonight, they played really well,” said Austria. “Everybody, even those players not getting a lot of playing time but in the third going to the fourth quarter, they sustained the effort of the first group. That’s it.”
The Beermen take a one-day break and return to action on Sunday, July 25 against the NorthPort Batang Pier.
San Miguel 110 – Perez 21, Cabagnot 17, Tautuaa 16, Lassiter 14, Fajardo 14, Pessumal 10, Santos 9, Zamar 4, Ross 3, Gamalinda 2, Gotladera 0, Comboy 0.
NLEX 93 – Alas 20, Ravena 16, Soyud 15, Quinahan 9, Paniamogan 8, Oftana 7, Miranda 5, Semerad 5, Trollano 3, Cruz 3, Porter 2, Ayonayon 0, McAloney 0.
Quarterscores: 32-22, 61-44, 88-67, 108-93.