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Beermen whip Texters, stay clean

San Miguel Beerman June Mar Fajardo keeps Moala Tautuaa of TNT KaTropa at bay as he drives to the basket in their game  at the University of San Agustin, Iloilo City yesterday.    PBA IMAGE

MANILA, Philippines — Titleholder San Miguel Beer ignited a key run late in the third period then sustained the momentum in the payoff quarter to roll past TNT KaTropa, 88-76, and keep a clean slate in the PBA Philippine Cup at the University of San Agustin Gym in Iloilo City last night.

Reserves Brian Heruela and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser provided the spark in the initial SMB attack then Alex Cabagnot, Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter returned to deliver the dagger baskets as the Beermen withstood the Texters’ tough stand for their third straight win in the all-Filipino tourney.

The Beermen trailed by 12 points in the first half and were down by seven at 54-61 before making a decisive move to salvage the first Petron Blaze Saturday Special in PBA Season 43.

Meanwhile, Magnolia and NLEX square off in a duel of two fast-rising teams, disputing solo second place at 3-1 while Alaska Milk seeks a second straight win in taking on hard luck Kia at the Smart Araneta Coliseum tonight.

The Hotshots and the Road Warriors, now both seeing progress in their game after overhauling their lineups last season, clash at 6:45 p.m. with the winner breaking off a heavy logjam with Blackwater, Barangay Ginebra and Phoenix Petroleum.

The Aces and the Picanto mix it up earlier at 4:30 p.m. with the former out for  a follow-up to their 103-98 win over the Meralco Bolts the last time out while the latter hope to finally end a skid from last season. 

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The Texters, who led most of the first three quarters, were still in the game before eventually succumbing on the 10-2 closing attack of Santos and Cabagnot in the last two minutes of the contest.

Four-time MVP winner June Mar Fajardo was effectively held down to six rebounds but paced the Beermen with 20 points on 8-of-11 field goals and 4-of-9 charities.

Santos (15 points, 11 rebs) and Cabagnot (11 markers, 12 boards) both churned out double-double games they laced with back-to-back treys that broke the back of the Texters.

 

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