Beermen edge Gin Kings to stay unbeaten

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Beermen edge Gin Kings to stay unbeaten
San Migue;'s Don Trollano
PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines -- The San Miguel Beermen remained undefeated after squeaking past the valiant Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, 95-92, Friday night in a cardiac PBA Philippine Cup contest at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Ginebra stormed back from a huge double-digit lead in the final quarter, but eventually ran out of steam.

It was a wire-to-wire win for San Miguel, which led by as much as 18 points, 84-66, early on in the fourth quarter.

Ginebra retaliated with an 11-0 run capped by a layup by Japeth Aguilar to cut the lead down to seven, 77-84, with 8:11 remaining.

A layup by June Mar Fajardo, who was sporting a mask, halted the blitz and brought the lead back to nine, 86-77.

Slowly but surely, though, the Gin Kings clawed back.

They inched closer to just four, 84-88, with a 3-pointer by LA Tenorio with 4:49 left.

Don Trollano then heated up just in time.

After Trollano made a midrange jumper, Christian Standhardinger answered to keep the four-point deficit.

The defending champions then went to Fajardo on the block, who found an open Trollano for a big trey to push the lead back to seven, 93-86, with 2:44 to go.

The Gin Kings showcased their Never Say Die spirit, breathing down the Beermen’s necks with a layup by Standhardinger and a 3-pointer by Mav Ahanmisi that cut the game down to a single possession, 91-93 with 69 seconds remaining.

A lefty layup by Jericho Cruz with 44 seconds left sealed the deal for San Miguel, 95-91.

Ginebra had a chance to creep closer after Ahanmisi was fouled with 3.9 seconds left.

He, however, missed the first one and made the second one, and the Gin Kings did not stop the clock anymore.

“We just had to play good defense in the end. We had to stop them in the last two to three minutes because we were making hurried shots again when we were up 16 or 18, and then they took advantage of that,” San Miguel head coach Jorge Gallent said.

“When we were missing our layups, they were running and they hit big 3-point shots in transition. We just have to do a better job of just sprinting back and defending,” he added.

CJ Perez had a double-double for the Beermen, finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds, as well as four rebounds and four assists.

Trollano added 15 points and eight rebounds, while Fajardo had 14 markers and 10 boards off the bench.

Japeth Aguilar had 17 for Ginebra, while Ahanmisi chipped in 16 points and 10 rebounds.

San Miguel remained unblemished in four contests thus far, while Ginebra slipped to 3-2.

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