SMB survives ros scare

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
SMB survives ros scare
June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer positions himself against Jhonard Clarito and Keith Datu of Rain or Shine.

MANILA, Philippines — It wasn’t the prettiest of victories but top seed San Miguel Beer would gladly take it.

The battle-scarred Beermen were made to sweat by youthful but tough Rain or Shine before escaping with a  101-98 win and taking a 1-0 running start in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series yesterday.

“A win is a win,” SMB coach Jorge Gallent said after getting the job done despite blowing an eight-point lead in the fourth and going scoreless in the last 2:21 on the MOA Arena court.

Gallent rued how the Beermen were uncharacteristically erratic with the ball, which resulted in ROS’ running attacks.

“It’s in the stats. We committed 16 turnovers, which was over our average of nine or 10,” said the SMB mentor, whose charges gave up 10 fast-break points to the youth-laden Elasto Painters.

“This is a running team. If we don’t take care of the ball and turn the ball over, they’ll just run, run. So as much as possible, we have to minimize that. Otherwise, they’ll have easy shots and we won’t be able to get back on defense,” he added.

Like he always does at this point of the campaign, June Mar Fajardo was in take-over mode. He punched in 23 markers and 11 rebounds – his 12th double-double of the All-Filipino and 23rd overall in the season – to lead the defending champions.

Don Trollano (17), Marcio Lassiter (16) and Terrence Romeo (14) made significant contributions to offset CJ Perez’ (13) less-than-stellar game.

Perez’ last basket gave SMB a 99-91 cushion before Gian Mamuyac, Jhonard Clarito and Andre Caracut conspired in a 7-2 rally that put ROS within 98-101.

The E-Painters forced Trollano to air ball a trey to retrieve possession with 11.7 seconds left. However, Caracut missed a long three-point attempt, allowing SMB to claim the W.

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