In a rematch of last season's Philippine Cup finals, it was still the San Miguel Beermen who reigned over the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok with a 113-92 victory at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday evening.
Arwind Santos had a game-high 29 points on 7-for-11 shooting from deep. Terrence Romeo helped out with 23 points while June Mar Fajardo chipped in with 22 and eight boards. The three combined for an efficient 78 percent from the field.
San Miguel did not waste against Magnolia and rushed out to a 10-0 run to open the game. That extended to a 20-4 lead for the Beermen as the Hotshots could not get their shots to fall. Magnolia missed all but one of their first 11 field goal attempts.
It was a story of misfires for the Hotshots coinciding with a blistering start for Beermen. San Miguel found success from everywhere on the court, pushing its lead to a peak of 23 points early in the second quarter.
It was hard to expect the Hotshots to struggle the entire game, though. True enough, they soon found their rhythm and gained ground.
With improved shooting, Magnolia got within six points, 51-45, in the third period. But San Miguel turned to their outside shots to restore order. The Beermen knocked down seven of their 18 triples in the third which allowed them to get their lead back up 15 points.
It was cruise control for San Miguel in the fourth quarter as Magnolia could not recover. The Beermen did not allow the Hotshots a taste of the lead throughout the entire game.
Ian Sangalang led Magnolia with 19 points. He also had four steals and two blocks. He got help from Paul Lee and Rome dela Rosa who contributed 16 and 14 points, respectively.
San Miguel 113 - Santos 29, Romeo 23, Fajardo 22, Cabagnot 11, Lassiter 9, Ross 6, Tubid 3, Pessumal 3, Nabong 3, Mamaril 2, Zamar 2, Lanete 0, De Ocampo 0, Vigil 0.
Magnolia 92 - Sangalang 19, Lee 16, Dela Rosa 14, Brondial 12, Jalalon 11, Pascual 8, Simon 4, Calisaan 4, Abundo 2, Gamalinda 2, Barroca 0, Herndon 0, Melton 0, Reavis 0.
Quarterscores: 28-12, 51-42, 82-69, 113-92.
-- Alex Cabagnot achieved two milestones during the game. He moved up the to 8th in the PBA all-time assists list, tied with Philip Cezar with 3,130. He also climbed to 9th spot in the steals list, moving past Cyrus Baguio.
-- The game had a lot of physicality, particularly between Chris Ross and Paul Lee. Nothing got out of hand, but the two were visibly getting under each other's skin all game long.
-- San Miguel will enter a 25-day break before playing their next game on March 8.
San Miguel vs NLEX on March 8 (Fri) at the Smart Araneta Coliseum
Magnolia vs Rain or Shine on February 13 (Wed) at the Mall of Asia Arena