MANILA, Philippines — As Chris Ross said, the semis saga sharpened the Beermen for the finals.
On Friday, San Miguel was a totally different team—leaning on almost every able-bodied cager available to rout Barangay Ginebra, 109-82, and draw the first blood in the Philippine Cup finals at the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday.
Ross, who stated that the grueling series with TNT unleashed a more lethal version of his team, led all scorers with 17 points. He was joined by June Mar Fajardo atop the production column.
The Beermen needed only the first two minutes of the game to wrest control. After trailing 1-2 in the opening period, the defending conference champions sparked for a 15-point run.
And they kept building on it. Again. And again. Until the final buzzer sounded.
It was only RR Garcia who did not play in the game—which saw the lead swell to 36—after hurting his shoulder in the series against the KaTropa.
"I really don't know what happened. I wasn't expecting this night to be one-sided," said head coach Leo Austria. "Naglilisik ang mga mata ng mga players ko because they know how important winning Game One is."
"I think nag-click 'yung shooting ng mga gunners namin. June Mar, in spite of not being able to practice due to flu, still played well," he added.
But Austria is not one to lower his guard.
"This is just one game eh. I know coach Tim Cone. Pag alam niyang wala nang challenge, ibibigay na niya 'yan eh. Naka-focus na siya sa second game," he said.
"Game One is never an assurance, but it does give us a psychological advantage," Austria closed.
The series resumes this Sunday at the Lucena Convention Center in Lucena City.
SAN MIGUEL 109 - Ross 17, Fajardo 17, Cabagnot 16, Espinas 16, Tubid 11, Santos 9, Lassiter 8, Agovida 7, Heruela 4, Reyes 2, De Ocampo 2, Van Opstal 0, Mabulac 0, McCarthy 0.
GINEBRA 82 - Ellis 13, Cruz 12, Caguioa 12, Thompson 10, Taha 9, Tenorio 5, Aguilar 5, Mariano 4, Jamito 4, Devance 3, Mercado 2, Ferrer 2, Marcelo 1, Helterbrand 0, De Guzman 0.
Quarterscores: 35-12, 60-39, 89-56, 109-82
|San Miguel Beermen||8||3|
|Rain or Shine Elasto Painters||7||4|
|Global Port Batang Pier||7||4|
|Barako Bull Energy Cola||6||5|
|Purefoods Star Hot Shots||6||5|
|Talk n Text Tropang Texters||5||6|
|Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel||4||6|
|NLex Road Warriors||3||7|
|Black Water Elite||1||10|