San Miguel draws first blood after dominant Game 1 win
MANILA, Philippines – Entering the PBA Governors’ Cup finals, the expectations were that the Alaska Aces and San Miguel Beermen would provide the league’s fans with a classic 7-game series that would serve as the perfect ender to what has been a great 2014-2015 PBA season.
But if Game 1 is any indication of what’s to come, classic could very well turn to one-sided.
Leading from start to finish in their most impressive win of the conference, the Beermen took down the top-seeded Aces, 108-78, on Friday, July 10, at the Mall of Asia Arena, in their best-of-7 finals opener.
Import Arizona Reid was in full control of the game, hitting big baskets, making the right passes, and playing splendid defense. He finished with 32 points, 7 assists, and 6 boards, while reigning league MVP June Mar Fajardo - who’s the favorite to be named the Best Player of the Conference - put up 18 points and 17 rebounds.
“There’s not much of a story here. I got out-coached and we got beat from start to finish. I’ll answer the questions but I don’t know what else to say but that,” Aces head coach Alex Compton said after the game.
“We got beat fair and square. We better do something different [in Game 2].”
Alaska suffered the most lopsided loss in the PBA Finals in the past 7 years, shooting just 35% from the floor and only 25% from downtown. Import Romeo Travis struggled with only 14 points and 6 boards, going 6-of-18 from the field.
“I felt like we had lost our flow… shots we usually make, we missed. Credits to San Miguel for making us miss,” Compton said.
Sonny Thoss registered 12 points and 8 boards to help out the Aces, whom San Miguel head coach Leo Austria believes will bounce back in Game 2 on Sunday, July 10.
“Panalo ka nang tambak o hindi (whether you win by big or not), it’s still one game. I’m expecting them to bounce back hard in the next game, dahil this is pivotal,” Austria said.
“Knowing Coach Alex, he’s a great motivator and it’s very evident in them.”
The game got out of hand in the first quarter, when a 3-point play by Chris Lutz kick-started a 12-0 San Miguel run that extended their lead to 28-10. During that stretch, Fajardo converted two baskets - including an and-one play - while Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos each hit 3-pointers.
Cabagnot and Santos both finished with 15 points, while Lutz wasn’t far behind with 12.
“We want to promote clean basketball, straight basketball for the talent of the players to be exposed,” Austria said after the win.
San Miguel was ahead by 13 after both the first and second quarters and stayed in control the rest of the way.
The Beermen shot 45% from the floor and went 10-of-28 from long range. They also made the most of the opportunities at the foul stripe, converting 24-of-28.
San Miguel forced Alaska to 12 turnovers and committed 10 of their own, but dominated the points off turnovers battle, 16-2. The Beermen were also the better team in the paint, 36-28.
SAN MIGUEL 108 - Reid 32, Fajardo 18, Cabagnot 15, Santos 15, Lutz 12, Lassiter 9, Ross 2, Fortuna 2, Semerad 2, Tubid 1, Reyes 0, Espinas 0.
ALASKA 78 - Travis 14, Thoss 12, Abueva 11, Hontiveros 11, Manuel 8, Casio 5, Banchero 4, Baguio 4, Menk 3, Dela Rosa 2, Exciminiano 2, Jazul 2.
Quarter Scoring: 35-22, 54-41, 77-65, 108-78