Full-strength SMB slams door on gallant Meralco stand

Published December 2, 2022, 5:40 PM

by Reynald I. Magallon

San Miguel Beer slammed the door on Meralco’s bid of a graceful exit, hacking out a 113-108 victory in the 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the PhilSports Arena on Friday, Dec. 2.

Devon Scott helps San Miguel Beer survive a huge fourth quarter stand from Meralco. (PBA Images)

The Beermen showed flashes of their potential when in full health, seizing control for the majority of the contest before leaning on import Devon Scott to turn back a late rally from the resilient Bolts.

Scott found his mark and feasted on Meralco’s depleted frontline which was without center Raymond Almazan, posting 32 points on an efficient 13-of-15 clip from the field on top of his 13 rebounds.

Marcio Lassiter added 13 points, built on three triples – the last of which allowed him to overtake former teammate Arwind Santos in the seventh place in all-time three-point list. Terrence Romeo also made a successful return after an eight-month absence and finished with 12 points.

It was also a fitting momentum builder for the Beermen who will march on to the best-of-three quarterfinals as the fifth seed with a 7-5 record against the No.4 seed Converge FiberXers.

Dealing with a series of injuries to their key players all-conference long, the Beermen finally flaunted what they can do when they are in full health, easily piling a double-digit advantage in the first half that even went to as many as 25 points, 77-52, in the third frame.

Not wanting to exit the conference without a fight, the also-ran Bolts went on a rally in the final frame as they slowly chipped away the Beermen’s lead. Meralco finally broke through the double-digit barrier, 109-100, after two free throws from KJ McDaniels.

Scott stopped the bleeding with a slam but that didn’t discourage Meralco which came within three, 111-108, after a Bong Quinto layup. The Beermen, though, got the ball to the hands of Scott who fished for a foul and coolly sank the two free throws that sealed the deal for SMB with only five seconds left.

McDaniels paced the Bolts with 27 points and eight rebounds while Aaron Black provided support with his 21 points.

McDaniels paced the Bolts with 27 points and eight rebounds while Aaron Black provided support with his 21 points. Raymar Jose also stepped up in Almazan’s absence with a double-double of 16 points and career-high 17 rebounds as the Bolts ended the conference with a 4-8 record.