2014 PBA Commissioner’s Cup: Beermen seal the second seed after beating Air 21

SAN MIGUEL BEER over AIR 21, 93-85

After starting the fourth quarter down eighteen points, 56-74, the San Miguel Beermen turned on a switch and went on a rampage, outscoring the hapless Express, 31-4, for most of the payoff period to take a commanding 87-78 lead. That was all she wrote for the Express, who squandered yet another big lead late in the game. The consequence? SMB seals #2 and a twice-to-beat advantage heading to the quarterfinals while Air 21 falls to 3-6 and, probably, a seventh or eighth seed, which comes with a twice-to-beat DISadvantage.

Mike Burtscher (L) and the Express saw their lead dwindle
amidst the onslaught of Arwind Santos (R) and the Beermen.

For the second straight game, the DLSU pair of Mac Cardona and Joseph Yeo sputtered. Yeo shot just 2/11 from the floor while also turning the ball over thrice. For his part, Cardona missed 8 of his 11 FG attempts and had 2 turnovers. No way the Express will win with those two going cold, whether it’s here in the elims or in the next round.

Terrific Trio: Kevin Jones has been quite effective for SMB, but its top three local guys — Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter, and June Mar Fajardo — have really been the key factors in their run to second spot at the end of the elimination round. In this game, those three shone again. Santos dropped 18 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals in another sterling all-around performance. Lassiter continued to solidify his claim as the country’s #1 SG by shooting 7/13 from the floor on his way to 17 markers. He also handed out 3 assists and stole the ball twice. Fajardo, meanwhile, dominated the paint with 15 points, 11 boards, and 2 rejections. 

Game Recap by Rey Joble/InterAKTV:

SAN MIGUEL BEER over AIR 21, 93-85

The San Miguel Beermen woke up in time to hack out an 93-85 victory over the Air 21 Express and secure the second seed in the PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup elimination round on Wednesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Playing listlessly for the first three quarters, the Beermen found themselves trailing, 74-56, early in the final period.

“We really struggled to shoot. We had great looks, we missed shots we usually make,” said San Miguel Beer coaching consultant Todd Purves. “Our guys just hung in there, played defense, until our shots came in the fourth.”

Sparked by the entry of substitute Rico Maierhofer and the dominance of June Mar Fajardo, San Miguel Beer went on a 31-4 run to turn the game around, 87-78.

With the win, the Beermen finished the elims with a 7-2 win-loss record, good for the No. 2 spot that comes with twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinal round.

The Express suffered yet another collapse, after also squandering a commanding lead against the Meralco Bolts earlier in the conference. Air 21 finished the eliminations at 3-6, which would give them either the seventh or eighth seed in the playoffs.

SMB 93 – Jones 19, Santos 18, Lassiter 17, Fajardo 15, Ross 9, Maierhofer 5, Tubid 4, Hubalde 4, Kramer 2, Lanete 0, Lutz 0.
AIR 85 – Witherspoon 27, Anthony 14, Camson 12, Taulava 9, Yeo 7, Cardona 7, Poligrates 4, Villanueva 2, Ramos 2, Burtscher 1, Borboran 0.
QS: 19-16, 35-39, 55-72, 93-85

Arwind Santos slams one home for SMB.

Kevin Jones reeled in yet another double-double.

Mike Burtscher goes up strong against Ronald Tubid.

Images by Paolo Papa and Paul Ryan Tan/Sports 5.

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