San Miguel eyes title berth vs Lance Stephenson, Liaoning
MACAU – The San Miguel Beermen target another big win in the East Asia League Terrific 12 in Macau.
After dethroning champion Ryukyu Golden Kings, the Beermen go for a championship berth against former NBA player Lance Stephenson and the Liaoning Flying Leopards at 7 pm on Saturday, September 21.
Terrence Romeo, Denz Wells, and Lester Prosper – the trio who powered the PBA champions in the group stage – hope to come through for the Beermen again in the winner-take-all semifinal match.
Seoul SK Knights and Zhejiang Guangsha Lions clash in the other Final Four duel at 5 pm.
The Beermen advanced to the semifinals after topping Group B with a 2-0 record, the last win coming on Thursday night against deposed champion Ryukyu Golden Kings, 101-92.
Wells erupted for 42 points to lead the Beermen while Romeo (18 points) and Prosper (15 points) also finished in double figures.
“From the start, we knew this would be a difficult game for us,” said San Miguel head coach Leo Austria. “They’re the defending champions and we know they have a good game plan against us but we’re ready for any eventuality.”
The Golden Kings had a fine start, leading 14-2 early but Wells and Romeo joined forces to close the period with a 29-10 run to control the tempo of the game, 31-24.
But Ryukyu, behind import Demon Brooks, stayed within striking distance as his two free throws cut the Beermen’s lead to 70-74 with 9:51 left in the game.
Wells again anchored another San Miguel surge and his one-hand slam gave them a 90-77 lead with 5:03 remaining in the game.
The Golden Kings sliced the lead to single digit on Hayato Kantake’s triple, 86-94, but Wells hit a jumper in the next play to start a crucial 7-3 exchange to put the game out of reach, 101-89, 68 seconds left in the game.
Brooks led Ryukyu with 34 points and 11 rebounds while Ryuichi Kishimoto chipped in 12 markers.
TNT wraps up campaign
In Group A, SK Knights grabbed the semis spot after beating Chiba Jets, 86-76.
KJ McDaniels exploded for 47 points to lift TNT KaTropa to a 99-90 win over Niigata Albirex of Japan as KaTropa ended their campaign here on a high note.
McDaniels also hauled down 17 rebounds and got solid support from Roger Pogoy and Almond Vosotros as KaTropa finished their Group D campaign with a 1-1 record.
“We’re lucky to have KJ in the team. He makes the game much, much easier. He filled in for Terrence Jones last conference and we’re very fortunate of having a very good player helping us a lot,” TNT mentor Mark Dickel said.
“And going into our first game next week, it’s always good to take a win. We didn’t want to come away from here having lost our first two games,” he added.
Both teams were already eliminated after losing their matches to Group D semifinalist Liaoning Flying Leopards but still gave out their best to end their respective campaign on a positive note.
Nick Perkins led Niigata with 34 points and 12 rebounds while Shinsuke Kashiwagi and Yuichi Ikeda contributed 17 and 16 markers, respectively. – Rappler.com