Second straight game without Alex Cabagnot and Terrence Romeo, second straight win for the San Miguel Beermen. After losing the opening game of the 2019 Philippine Cup to the Columbian Dyip, the Beermen are now back to their dominant ways with a 105-93 victory over the Meralco Bolts, Friday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
"It was a tough game for us but we all worked hard for this win," said Marcio Lassiter, the Best Player of the Game with 25 points, four rebounds, and four assists. "We need to keep the intensity up. We need it for our next game this Sunday (versus TNT)."
The Beermen only needed one big run to shake off the challenge of the Bolts. Meralco simply did not have the bigs to defend the interior against the bigs and slashers of the Beermen.
With more shots available because of the absence of Cabagnot and Romeo, the second unit of the Beermen took full advantage of the opportunity with Ronald Tubid and Paul Zamar chipping in 11 points each.
However, it was June Mar Fajardo and Christian Standhardinger who made things so difficult for the Bolts. The two combined for 34 points and 18 rebounds.
It was a tight contest in the first quarter with the Bolts edging the defending champions, 27-26. The Beermen the started surging ahead early in the second period with Fajardo combining with second-unit players Tubid and Zamar.
A basket from Tubid past the midway mark of the second gave the Beermen a 47-33 advantage, capping a 21-6 run. Like their problems of the past, the Bolts' offense stagnated as they only finished with 15 points in the second period while the Beermen scored 29.
A big reason for the SMB lead was their three-point shooting as they had six triples compared to only two for Meralco. Marcio Lassiter had four of SMB's six treys as he totaled 16 points in the first 24 minutes. He was backed up by Christian Standhardinger's 10 with Fajardo and Tubid scoring nine apiece.
Baser Amer, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Nard Pinto scored six each for the Bolts at the half.
Lassiter continued to scorch hot in the third period where he dropped nine points to power a 30-point quarter for the Beermen as they held a commanding 85-66 lead heading into the fourth.
San Miguel 105 - Lassiter 25, Fajardo 20, Standhardinger 14, Santos 12, Tubid 11, Zamar 11, Ross 6, Pessumal 6, Nabong 0.
Meralco 93 - Pinto 13, De Ocampo 12, Amer 11, Hugnatan 8, Quinto 7, Hodge 6, Caram 6, Canaleta 6, Faundo 5, Dillinger 5, Newsome 4, Salva 3, Jackson 3, Tolomia 2, Jamito 2.
Quarters: 26-27, 55-42, 85-66, 105-93.
Lassiter's torrid shooting lifts San Miguel
Marcio Lassiter scored 25 points, including five 3-pointers, to steer the San Miguel Beermen to a 105-93 win over Meralco.
Romeo is expected to miss SMB's next game against his former team TNT. He's expected to return to action on February 1 against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
The Beermen showed off their chemistry with 27 assists compared to only 20 for the Bolts.
The silver lining for Meralco was the performance of their bench as their second unit outscored their SMB counterparts 64-34.
SMB vs TNT KaTropa on Jan. 27 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum
Meralco vs TNT KaTropa on Jan. 30 at the Cuneta Astrodome