San Miguel survives scare vs Blackwater
LEO Austria was glad that his San Miguel Beermen experienced something like this heading into the playoffs of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, even if he said that this was the most scared he had been in a game this season.
Trailing a team that wasn’t supposed to even stay close to them, the Beermen dug deep in the second half to roar back from 16 points down before upending Blackwater, 124-113, on Wednesday night as San Miguel stayed in the top two chase at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.
“I think that game was the most scary I’ve experienced this season,” Austria said after booking his eighth win in 10 games while showing the Elite the door with their ninth defeat in 11 outings.
Blackwater scored the first 10 points and had a 72-56 lead at the half, a wake-up call that had the Beermen coming out for the third with all guns firing and their defense unforgiving.
“This is a lesson for us – that we cannot take any team for granted,” Austria said. “We needed a game like this – that (16-point) deficit forced us to play hard. The players just refused to be beaten.”
Charles Rhodes fired 15 points in the fourth period and June Mar Fajardo hit 12 of his 28 in the third as the two big men took turns in helping the
Beermen enforce their character in the second half to avert what would have been the biggest upset of the tournament.
Had the Elite sustained their magnificent first half, San Miguel would have bombed out of the twice-to-beat race. San Miguel, instead, stayed well in the mix with a win over GlobalPort on Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum giving the Beermen No. 2 seeding heading into the first round of the playoffs and the right to play No. 7 in the quarterfinals.
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