The San Miguel Beermen bullied their way to a 109-82 win over Barangay Ginebra in Game 1 of the 2017 Oppo PBA Philippine Cup finals on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
June Mar Fajardo had 17 points and eight rebounds for San Miguel. Chris Ross also had 17 markers while Alex Cabagnot and Gabby Espinas added 16 apiece.
San Miguel got off to a good start, establishing an early double-digit lead. They went up 17-2 after a Fajardo layup and a Cabagnot three-point play, limiting Ginebra to a basket in the first five minutes. Santos knocked down a three and Cabagnot made a pair of free throws to push their lead to 33-9. The Kings continued to struggle as the Beermen went up 38-12 after the opening period.
The Kings brought the lead down to 19 after a triple from Ellis but Tubid responded on the other end with a long bomb of his own. A Ross layup after a few plays made it a 27-point lead, 54-27, for San Miguel.
Ginebra had difficulty getting anything to drop against their opponents’ defense as the Beermen limited them to just 35% from the field. San Miguel, which had Cabagnot, Ross and Fajardo in double figures at the half, shot 56% to take a 60-39 lead.
Still with momentum, SMB came out firing to open the second half, extending their lead to 33 points, 75-42, after back-to-back baskets from Fajardo.
Ferrer was called for a flagrant call at the 4:02 mark of the third, leading to a pair of free throws from Lassiter and a three-point play from Espinas to keep San Miguel in control, 85-49.
By the time the fourth quarter hit, the Beermen were up 89-56. The onslaught continued in the payoff period but Ginebra trimmed the deficit to 25 after a bucket from Paolo Taha. But with 4:31 remaining, San Miguel got its lead back up to 31, 105-74, on a layup from Brian Heruela as it went on to take the victory.
“I wasn’t expecting this kind of lopsided game. But I know my players, nanlilisik mga mata nila because they want to win,” said SMB coach Leo Austria. “They know the importance of the first game because you can dictate the tempo of the series. I think nag-click yung mga shooting ng mga gunner namin from the perimeter.”
Chris Ellis had 13 points to pace the Kings.
SAN MIGUEL 109 – Ross 17, Fajardo 17, Cabagnot 16, Espinas 16, Tubid 11, Santos 9, Lassiter 8, Agovida 7, Heruela 4, Reyes 2, De Ocampo 2, Van Opstal 0, Mabulac 0, McCarthy 0.
GINEBRA 82 – Ellis 13, Cruz 12, Caguioa 12, Thompson 10, Taha 9, Tenorio 5, Aguilar 5, Mariano 4, Jamito 4, Devance 3, Mercado 2, Ferrer 2, Marcelo 1, Helterbrand 0, De Guzman 0.
Quarterscores: 35-12, 60-39, 89-56, 109-82