Beermen bank on firepower, take Game 1 vs Aces
San Miguel Beer's Arwind Santos hangs on the rim after a two-handed slam during the Game 1 of the PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals between his team and the Alaska Aces.
PBA Media Bureau

Beermen bank on firepower, take Game 1 vs Aces

Denison Rey A. Dalupang ( - July 14, 2018 - 8:30pm

MANILA, Philippines — Defending conference champion San Miguel Beer leaned on its depth against Alaska and draw first blood in their best-of-five PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series, Saturday night.

The Beermen drew six double-digit from its personnel to defeat the Aces, 92-79 , in the lone action at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“This is the most important game, the first game. So as much as possible, you want to win the first game to dictate tempo,” said San Miguel head coach Leo Austria.

And as far as tempo is concerned, the Beermen set the tone. Their primary cast accounted for 57 points with June Mar Fajardo leading the charge  (17 points). Alex Cabagnot and Kelly Nabong chimed in 15 and 11 points off the bench, respectively. 

SMB's June Mar Fajardo maneuvers past Alaska's Diamon Simpson, Sonny Thoss, and JVee Casio | PBA Media Bureau

“Makikita niyo kanina talagang they’re really focused on this game,” the Perpetual coach of the year said.

As if that is not enough, top draft pick Christian Standhardinger, who was coming off an episode with his knee, contributed nine in the scoring effort. 

The two teams were neck-and-neck in action before the injection of new faces in the second period changed the complexion of the game. The Beermen managed to erect an 11-point advantage going into the intermission.

And they never looked back. 

SMB import Renaldo Balkman soars over Alaska's Casio | PBA Media Bureau

Alaska, for its part, relied heavily on import Diamond Simpson. The American reinforcement scattered 31 points, while Best Player of the Conference frontrunner Vic Manuel added 16.

But that’s the only twin-digit production the Aces got in from its arsenal.

Austria, who had steered his team unscathed in the playoffs, still remains wary of Alaska and coach Alex Compton.

“I know Alaska will do more because that’s not their game. We’re expecting some more from them. So we need to strengthen our defense — lalo na ‘yung mga small details,” Austria closed.

The Beermen-Aces semis saga resumes on Monday.

The Scores:

San Miguel (92): Fajardo 17, Cabagnot 15, Balkman 13, Lassiter 12, Nabong 11, Standhardinger 9, Ross 3, Heruela 0

Alaska (79): Simpson 31, Manuel 16, Enciso 7, Racal 7, Casio 6, Teng 4, Exciminiano 4, Thoss 2, Cruz 2, Pascual 0, Baclao 0, Galliguez 0

Quarter scores: 25-24, 52-41, 75-65, 92-79

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