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Beermen take Game 1 in ABL

- Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - June 17, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The San Miguel Beermen turned up the heat in the fourth quarter to hack out a come-from-behind 86-83 triumph over the Indonesia Warriors and move on the verge of a Cinderella finish in the third AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League at the Ynares Sports Arena last night.

After playing catch-up most of the way, the Beermen turned things around with an 18-9 assault in the last five minutes to take Game 1 of the best-of-three championship series and position the first-year team in the ABL into a possible title-clincher on Saturday in Jakarta.

“Indonesia is a good team and I think it was hard for us to scout them without actually playing them,” said SMB coach Bobby Parks Sr.

He was referring in particular to the new additions in the Indonesia team – Fil-Am  Stanley Pringle and American import Evan Brock – who weren’t around when SMB dominated the squad in the three-round elims.

Pringle fired 14 points in the first quarter alone while Brock had 15 in the first 20 minutes as the Warriors seized a a pair of 14-point leads, the last at 44-30, before the Beermen trimmed it down to a manageable five at intermission, 41-46.

“We weren’t so much worried about our offense in the first half; we knew we had to do a better job on defense. With the way we’re playing at halftime, we were only down by five so I felt comfortable,” said Parks.

He added that the three-game semis series with Malaysia Dragons “helped us keep our composure in crunch time.”

Parks made one major adjustment in the game, pulling out Chris Banchero from the point to play number two as veteran Froilan Baguion took over playmaking chores, to allow the Fil-Italian to focus on containing Pringle, who ended up with 21 markers.

Baguion orchestrated the plays splendidly especially in the payoff period, firing a clutch triple and issuing a key looping pass to Nick Fazekas who knocked it in for an 85-81 tear, 28.5 seconds left. He had nine assists in all, complementing the 22 points of Duke Crews, the 21 of Leo Avenido and the 18 of Fazekas.

“Froilan is a veteran so coming in we knew what we had in him,” said Parks.

Brock paced the Warriors with 24 points but was held down to only four in the fourth canto.

The Beermen earlier fell into a scoring drought in the last one minute of the first, allowing the Warriors to wind up with eight unanswered points spiked by triples from Jerrick Canada and Stanley Pringle for a 26-20 lead.

The spell continued in the first five minutes of the second canto where SMB only scored three against the Warriors’ 11, something that the visitors used as cushion to open a 14-point spread twice, 37-23, and 44-30.

BASKETBALL LEAGUE BEERMEN BOBBY PARKS SR. CHRIS BANCHERO DUKE CREWS EVAN BROCK FROILAN BAGUION INDONESIA WARRIORS JERRICK CANADA AND STANLEY PRINGLE LEO AVENIDO NICK FAZEKAS
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