San Miguel Beer ushered in the new era under new head coach Jorge Gallent with a rousing 114-93 victory over Phoenix in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo on Sunday, Jan. 29.
The Beermen banked on twin towers June Mar Fajardo and import Cameron Clark, as well as the sweet-shooting hands of Simon Enciso, Marcio Lassiter and CJ Perez to trounce the struggling Fuel Masters, who trailed by as many as 33 points.
SMB’s firepower was on full display with six players scoring in twin digits led by Clark, who finished with 23 points, and Fajardo, who posted a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Perez also shone with 18 points, seven assists and five rebounds, Enciso added 14 points, and new recruit Allyn Bulanadi contributed 16.
The Beermen just shot the lights out in the first half particularly in the opening frame where they exploded for 42 points while limiting the Fuel Masters to 21 points.
SMB clamped down on the defensive end with its zone defense to stretch the lead to its biggest at 62-29 before settling to 66-37 at the half.
The rout, however, didn’t come without a scare as Simon Camacho, import Du’Vaughn Maxwell and RJ Jazul breathed some life to Phoenix’s fight after trimming the lead to just 10, 97-87, halfway through the final frame.
But three straight triples from Lassiter, Enciso and Perez took the fight out of the Fuel Masters as the Beermen protected their lead from then on.
Maxwell was the lone bright spot for Phoenix with 21 points and 14 rebounds, while Larry Muyang added 15. Jason Perkins and Encho Serrano were the other double-digit scorers with 12 each.