Shabazz Muhammad put his offensive firepower on display as San Miguel overcame a 26-point deficit to stun Meralco, 115-110, in the elimination round of the 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup, Saturday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 29-year old former NBA player was held to 12 points in the first half but bounced back strong in the 2nd by scattering 45 more as the Beermen formally clinched a ticket into the next round. Aside from his game-high 57 points, Muhammad also contributed 19 rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal in 45 minutes of action for the flagship team of the SMC group who finished the preliminary round of the season-ending conference with a 7-4 record.
“I told my teammates once my shot gets in, they’re (Meralco) gonna be in trouble because they can’t sag off. I’m really tired now but man, that was a great win,” said Muhammad who outscored the whole Meralco team by 3 points in the payoff period.
Muhammad’s 57 points was the most in a PBA game since SMB’s Tyler Wilkerson had 58 while NLEX’s Al Thornton had 69 against each other during a 131-127 overtime win by Beermen in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup.
“It looked like a miracle. Against Meralco, they are leading, we thought that it is impossible. But miracles happen every second. What happened tonight is a gift for us and a wake-up call for us,” said San Miguel coach Leo Ausrtia during the post-game presser.
June Mar Fajardo finished with 16 points and 14 boards while Vic Manuel and Marcio Lassiter added 13 and 10 markers, respectively.
The Beermen will have to wait for the results of the games of Alaska, Meralco and TNT to determine whether or not they’ll have a twice-to-beat advantage in the next round.
San Miguel 115 – Muhammad 57, Fajardo 16, Manuel 13, Lassiter 10, Romeo 9, Perez 6, Tautuaa 4, Ross 0, Cruz 0, Brondial 0.
Meralco 110 – Bishop 29, Quinto 18, Maliksi 16, Black 13, Banchero 13, Almazan 9, Hugnatan 7, Newsome 5, Hodge 0.
Quarterscores: 28-36, 46-70, 83-92, 115-110.