San Miguel halts Ginebra's 7-game win streak; battle for coveted 4 seats gets interesting

Sep 10, 2017

San Miguel Beer stopped Barangay Ginebra on its tracks as the Beermen got off to a blazing start and coasted to a 107-103 victory that moved them up to joint fourth place with the TNT Ka Tropa Texters in the PBA Governors Cup elims at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday.

Terrence Watson turned in a solid PBA debut with 28 points and 17 rebounds, blending well with the SMB local stars as they snapped the Kings' seven-game winning streak in a game the Beermen dominated almost throughout.

The Kings made the game look like a close game on a desperate flurry at the finish.

"I was very worried before the game because we're struggling and we're playing ugly, while Ginebra has been playing well and they're on a seven-game romp," said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.

"Malaking bagay sa amin they came off a hard game only last Friday. Mukhang nahirapan sila sa one-day break. We experienced the same early on," Austria also said.

Picking up from where they left off in their 103-96 win over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters Wednesday, the Beermen broke away right in the early goings and sustained a searing charge en route to a fifth win against three losses.

The Beermen caught up with the Texters at fourth spot, just a game behind the third-running Meralco Bolts (6-2) and half-game in front of the Elasto Painters (4-3) and the Star Hotshots (4-3).

Austria and his chargers pursue a Top Four finish and a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals in their last three games against the Kia Picanto, the Phoenix Fuel Masters and the Meralco Bolts.

"We're after a Top Four finish, at mukhang achievable na ito ngayon," said Austria.

Despite the loss, the Kings kept a clear shot at the Top Four or even the No. 1 playoff seeding.

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They have the Elasto Painters and the Texters as last assignments in the elims.

San Miguel took the half at 56-33 then Alex Cabagnot drained a trey to start the second half as the Beermen led by as many as 26 in the contest.

The Beermen turned what was expected to be a dogfight into a one-sided contest behind a hot 47-percent shooting and better rebounding job.

They shot above 50 percent through the first three quarters.

Obviously in utter disappointment, Ginebra coach Tim Cone let assistant coach Richard del Rosario call the shots in the closing minutes.

Watson proved to be a big thorn for the Kings.

"He's a big help. He's a big factor. At lalong naging mahirap siya para sa Ginebra dahil hindi siya scouted," said Austria of their new import.