TAKING Game One of their best-of-five Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series on Saturday, the defending champions San Miguel Beermen are hoping that the victory would set the tone for them in their matchup with the Alaska Aces moving forward.
A 92-79 winner in the series opener, the Beermen used a strong second quarter, where they showed much balance, to create some distance from the Aces and pretty much held on the rest of the way en route to claiming the victory.
San Miguel saw six players score in double digits led by June Mar Fajardo’s 17 points.
Alex Cabagnot, Renaldo Balkman, Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos and Kelly Nabong each scored 11 points or more while rookie Christian Standhardinger played in his first PBA playoff game to score nine points and pull down five rebounds to help his team win.
Alaska import Diamon Simpson had a stellar game of 31 points, 24 rebounds, five steals and three blocks but just did not get much support from the rest of the Aces which only had Vic Manuel as the other player scoring in double digits with 16.
Following their victory, San Miguel coach Leo Austria said they really wanted to take Game One against Alaska, seeing how it could go a long way in setting the tone for them, and was thankful they were able to deliver accordingly.
“In any series, it’s always important to win Game One. We wanted to win the game to dictate the tempo and for them (Alaska) to think hard of the adjustments they would make,” said Mr. Austria at the postgame press conference.
“Come Game Two we expect them to play better which is why we have to ready and strengthen our defense some more,” he added.
For Mr. Lassiter, who was awarded player of the game honors, the win was big for them but also underscored that work is not over for the team.
“We came out wanting to put pressure on them. We still need two more. We’re gonna take care of things, and we’ll play with more energy,” said Mr. Lassiter.
Game Two of the San Miguel-Alaska semifinal series is today at 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo