Beermen go for Terrific 12 finale
Four unbeaten teams will part ways in the semifinals with the winners disputing the $150,000 first prize and the losers battling for third place in the farewell twinbill tomorrow.
Beermen go for Terrific 12 finale
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - September 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MACAU – San Miguel Beer is the last PBA entry standing as four teams advance to the knockout semifinals of the Terrific 12 at the downtown Tap Seac Multi-Sports Pavilion here today with a throng of Filipino fans expected to fill the stands cheering for the squad that has unveiled electrifying import Dez Wells.

Four unbeaten teams will part ways in the semifinals with the winners disputing the $150,000 first prize and the losers battling for third place in the farewell twinbill tomorrow. PBA teams TNT and Blackwater were among eight contenders eliminated in the 12-game group stage. Others that failed to move up were the Chiba Jets, Shenzhen Aviators, Ryukyu Golden Kings, Utsunomiya Brex, Jeonju KCC Egis and Niigata Albirex.

Entering the playoffs, East Asia Super League CEO Matt Beyer said the Terrific 12 is on the way to eclipsing the viewership of 37.7 million in 49 countries that last year’s inaugural event generated. He estimated the global audience to exceed 60 million with 38 broadcast networks on board for this year’s tournament. Beyer said the TNT-Liaoning game in the opening quadruple header last Tuesday registered a viewership of 1.8 million.

TNT ended the preliminaries on a high note, trouncing Niigata, 99-90, last Thursday with NBA veteran K. J. McDaniels firing 47 points, R. R. Pogoy scoring 27 and newly-acquired Almond Vosotros chipping in 12. The KaTropa previously lost to Liaoning, 96-91. Blackwater wound up winless after bowing to Seoul, 93-77 and Chiba, 109-69.

PBA chairman Ricky Vargas applauded TNT’s comeback from nine down to thwart Niigata despite Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario sitting out the action. Vosotros was a glowing surprise, providing a lift off the bench with 2-of-4 triples in 25:14 minutes. TNT active consultant Mark Dickel plucked Vosotros out of the MPBL where the former La Salle guard had drifted to after stints with Blackwater, the national team and Mono Thewphaingarm as an import in the Thai league.

Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy said the Elite never got into a groove after mainstays Bobby Ray Parks and Mike DiGregorio were struck out of the tournament in sick bay. Original import Aaron Fuller went down with a knee injury and stayed in Manila for rehab. His replacement Marqus Blakely arrived in Manila early last Sunday, worked out with the team only once then flew here the next day. Blakely couldn’t shake off jet lag and Blackwater’s other import Alex Stepheson showed up out of shape. “This experience will toughen us for the future,” said Sy. “Our eyes were opened to what we need to do to win.”

The Beermen missed ailing June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter in mowing down Shenzhen, 90-76 and Ryukyu, 101-92 on the way to their semifinal confrontation with Lioaning. Import Dez Wells has been dazzling in leading San Miguel’s charge, averaging 35.5 points. Sy described Wells as the second coming of Billy Ray Bates. San Miguel’s other import Lester Prosper, Terrence Romeo, Christian Standhardinger, Chris Ross, Von Pessumal and Paul Zamar are expected to provide added firepower in battling the Flying Leopards.

In the other semifinal, Seoul will take on Zhejiang.

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