PBA Wednesday: SMB gets sent packing, Meralco lives to fight another day

PBA

The Meralco Bolts and the San Miguel Beermen were both facing elimination last night, but only one team managed to extend their PBA Governors’ Cup run.

The former escaped with a 90-74 victory over the 2nd seed Phoenix Fuel Masters, while the latter’s season was surprisingly cut short after being booted by the Alaska Aces, 96-85.

FOX Sports Philippines provides you with the best storylines from last night’s double-header Quarterfinals war.

Alaska aced the test

Even after an 8-3 record and third place finish in the eliminations, the Alaska Aces were still often left out in championship conversations.

Coach Alex Compton proved that his troops are legitimate contenders this conference by coming out with a total team effort to oust the feared Beermen.

Alaska outworked San Miguel on the boards, holding a 57-52 advantage in rebounds, and a 19-8 lead in second chance points.

Their reserves also did a splendid job relieving the starters, producing a 39-20 margin in total bench points. Vic Manuel and Jeron Teng provided that boost, posting 14 and 10 markers, respectively.

No denying Harris’ claim for BIC

Mike Harris showed why he currently leads the Best Import of the Conference race by outplaying his counterpart Kevin Murphy.

The league’s leading rebounder (21.7 boards per game) came through with 25 points and 17 rebounds, despite dealing with cramps for majority of the second half.

Good thing Simon Enciso picked up the scoring load, pitching in 15 points on 3-7 shooting from downtown.

Fajardo’s health is still of paramount importance

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Even with their backs against the wall, coach Leo Austria remained cautious with his prized center June Mar Fajardo who just returned from a shin injury.

‘The Kraken’— who was obviously still not a 100 percent — came off the bench and only clocked-in 22 minutes. He only took two shots and scored 6 points to go along with 7 boards.

Fajardo is included in coach Yeng Guiao’s 20-man pool and is expected to return to duty in the 5th window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.

Beermen’s shooters lost their fizz

PBA-Lassiter

San Miguel ranked second in three-point shooting percentage in the eliminations (35 percent) just behind the Blackwater Elite. The team’s snipers, however, struggled to hit their targets inside the Cuneta Astrodome last night and went 7-out-of-25 for 28 percent.

Murphy only made one of his 7 tries from distance, while Alex Cabagnot missed all three of his attempts. Marcio Lassiter went two-out-of-seven and Arwind Santos made half of his four shots.

Zapped back to life

After a lackluster showing in the 2018 Fiba Champions Cup and a lackadaisical start to the Govs’ Cup, many thought that the Meralco Bolts were done for this year.

The team, however, managed to rediscover their electricity and went on a 4-game winning streak to sneak into the postseason. Meralco stretched that run to five games after forcing a deciding do-or-die match against the 2nd seeded Phoenix on Friday.

Allen Durham once again carried the team on his massive shoulders, dropping 26 points, 16 boards, and three rejections, while the high-flying Chris Newsome added 16 points.

Baser Amer orchestrated the offense to a tune of a game-high 6 assists on top of 14 markers.

‘Daredevil’ sighting in Cuneta

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Jared Dillinger missed all 11 games of the eliminations due to a partial quad tear, but he was unexpectedly fielded in yesterday’s game.

The 34-year-old Filipino-American made his Govs’ Cup debut after Cliff Hodge went down with an injury early in the first half.

Dillinger was subbed in mostly for defensive purposes, but still contributed two points in 7 minutes of play.

Phoenix needs to take it a step at a time

The Fuel Masters have sights on a title after a strong showing in the eliminations, but they might have gotten ahead of themselves and underestimated the streaking Bolts.

Apart from only making 30 percent of their field goals last night (28-93 FG), the team relied on too much isolation plays and only had 10 assists as a team.

They also coughed the ball up 15 times, led by Calvin Abueva’s 6 turnovers.

(Images from PBA Media Group)

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