The San Miguel Beermen have leveled the season series at one all against the Westports Malaysia Dragons after defeating them 77-66 at Ynares Sports Arena in Manila on Saturday.
Gavin Edwards led the way for the Dragons with a game high 22 points and 16 rebounds, while Moala Tautua’a scored a season high 17 points to go with 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Playing without the suspended Gabe Freeman and injured Brian Williams, Chris Banchero and replacement import Matt Rogers stepped up to lead the Beermen with 21 points apiece.
“With Freeman out of the lineup they were playing without pressure and their ball movement killed us” said Dragons coach Ariel Vanguardia after the game.
“It was their homecourt and they were able to protect it, now we need to bounce back at home next time.”
The first quarter began close but the Dragons pulled away after hitting 8 of their first 14 shots and held a 7 point lead after a 3 pointer from Ban Sin Ooi.
The momentum swung the other way as the Dragons were held scoreless for a period of 9 minutes where the Beermen rattled off 14 straight points to take a 7 point lead of their own before Edwards broke the drought with a basket with an assist from Sammy Monroe. The Dragons were only able to connect on 3 of their final 16 shots of the half and trailed by 6 at the main break.
With Monroe having a quiet night offensively, Tautua’a and Edwards continued to be aggressive in the second half and finished the game as the only Dragons to attempt free throws, combining to make 12 of their 14 attempts. Banchero gave the Beermen a 9 point lead after Tautua’a was whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul and the lead got as high as 15 before the Dragons cut it to 11 going into the final break.
John Ng came in during the fourth quarter and made his presence felt by collecting 3 offensive rebounds and connecting on a 3 point shot off an assist from Justin Melton. Tautua’a got the steal from Pauliasi Taulava after making a basket and then set up Edwards for another 2 to have the Dragons back within 4 with 6 minutes remaining. However the Beermen answered by going on a 13-2 run late to put the game out of reach.
The Dragons will play their next game at home versus the Jobstreet.com Singapore Slingers on Sunday March 10. Pre-game entertainment begins at 2:30pm with tip-off at 3pm.
Scorers for the Dragons: G. Edwards (22), M. Tautuaa (17), S. Monroe (12), J. Melton (6), J. Ng (3), S.F. Loh (3) and B. S. Ooi (3)
Scorers for the Beermen: C. Banchero (21), M. Rogers (21), R. J. Rizada (10), Avenido (6), R. Cawaling (6), P. Taulava (6), H. P. Thiele (4), and P. Hubalde (3).
Scores by quarters:
|San Miguel Beermen||19||17||21||20||77|
|Westports Malaysia Dragons||20||10||16||20||66|
Current league standings:
|2||San Miguel Beermen||8||5-3||63||52|
|3||Jobstreet.com Singapore Slingers||8||4-4||50||-17|
|4||Westports Malaysia Dragons||9||4-5||44||9|
|6||Chang Thailand Slammers||9||3-6||33||-20