SMB 109 – MF 80
Jason Deutchman got into the lane and finished strong with a lay-up to give Mahindra a 2-0 lead to start the game.
That was the last time the Enforcers would be in a competitive position against the San Miguel Beermen.
Alex Cabagnot didn’t wait for crunch time to make game-changing plays. He exploded for 14 straight points in the final four minutes of the first quarter to put the game out of reach.
Cabagnot shredded the defense repeatedly for scores everywhere on the floor. He showed his understanding of his role on the SMB offense during that searing stretch. His personal run started by hitting a corner three-pointer off great ball movement by the Beermen. On the next possession, Cabagnot took it upon himself to score. He attacked a retreating defense on the fast break and scored on a reverse layup over two defenders.
Mahindra was able to score to cut the lead back down to single-digits. But Cabagnot answered back by dribbling around a Charles Rhodes screen and hitting a trey off the dribble. He then took it to the post when they got the ball back and scored over a smaller defender. The Crunchman closed the quarter by attacking the defense from the top of the key, getting all the way to the hoop for another lay-up before the final buzzer of the opening quarter.
When the smoke cleared, Cabagnot finished with 16 of his 26 points in the opening quarter. Mahindra was limited to only 16 points in the same period.
The Beermen just continued to pile it on as the game progressed. They extended the lead to a high of 34 points. San Miguel flashed their depth and were able to show off the talent on their roster throughout the game. The bench players got plenty of burn and they responded by keeping the lead at a comfortable level, affording the starters much-needed rest.
June Mar Fajardo played less than 10 minutes. He didn’t need to score a single point as the rest of his team did the heavy lifting this time. Charles Rhodes showed once again that he may not be a scoring dynamo like previous Beermen imports, but he’s a solid choice that fits this team. Rhodes scored 20 points and was able to have the offense run through him for long stretches of the game.
The scariest part of this blowout was the fact that the Beermen were not only the most talented team on the floor, they were also the most hardworking. San Miguel was hustling for 50-50 balls harder than the Enforcers. They worked the glass hard on both ends and were ready to dive on the floor for loose balls. Even when they went up big, the Beermen didn’t let up.
That’s a sign that San Miguel isn’t experiencing any championship hangover. All their players, from their superstar down to their third stringer, are locked in. The Beermen have always had a let down conference after winning the Philippine Cup.
This year, they look different. Their import fits flawlessly and they’re getting their key players rest for a long playoff run. This was a statement win for San Miguel. They’re done just winning championships. They’re looking at something bigger, a Grand Slam.