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Beermen halt Kings' romp, climb to fourth

Calvin Abueva  of Alaska drives around Glenn Khobuntin   of Kia in their Governors’ Cup game last night at the Big Dome. JUN MENDOZA
 

MANILA, Philippines —  San Miguel Beer turned what was expected to be a dogfight of a showdown with Barangay Ginebra into a one-sided game, fashioning out a 107-103 win to move up to joint fourth place with TNT KaTropa in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.

Terrence Watson blended well with the Beermen right in his PBA debut, putting in significant help as San Miguel stopped Ginebra’s seven-game romp, and foiled the Kings’ first crack at sealing a Top Four finish.

Watson did prove to be a lot better than the two previous SMB imports, coming through with game-highs of 28 points and 17 rebounds as the Beermen boosted their own Top Four bid with a fifth win against three losses.

“He’s a big help. He’s a big factor. And it’s tough for Ginebra because they’re not able to scout our new import,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.

“We’re after a Top Four finish. It looks achievable now,” Austria also said.

The Beermen drew even with the Texters at fourth place, now just a game behind the third-running Meralco Bolts (6-2) and half-game in front of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (4-3) and the Star Hotshots (4-3).

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Watson and his teammates pursue a Top Four finish and a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals in their last three games against the Kia Picanto, the Phoenix Fuel Masters and the Meralco Bolts.

Despite the loss, the Kings kept a clear shot at the Top Four or even the No. 1 playoff seeding.

They have the Elasto Painters and the Texters as their last assignments in the elims.

In the first game, Calvin Abueva played a big game for the first time in a long while, battling Geron Johnson toe-to-toe in the crunch as Alaska Milk squeezed out a 102-94 win over Kia to keep its flickering playoff hopes alive.

Abueva scored a personal conference high of 26 points and made key defensive plays against Johnson at the finish, enabling the Aces to seal a third straight win and stay in the running for the post-elims play with a 3-6 win-loss record.

The Aces continue to fight for survival in their last two games versus the Meralco Bolts and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.

Jvee Casio and LaDontae Henton contributed 20 points each.

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