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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, January 20, 2018
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San Miguel weathers
NLEX challenge

Reigning champ San Miguel Beer endured a tough physical and emotional battle with NLEX, grinding out a 109-98 win to keep a perfect slate in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome last night.

Arwind Santos turned in 26 points and 13 rebounds while June Mar Fajardo churned out 25 markers and 16 boards as the Beermen fended off the Road Warriors in a match marred by the ejection of Michael Miranda on a flagrant foul and by Chris Ross on two technical infractions.

Ross incurred his second technical foul on a heated verbal tussle with NLEX coach Yeng Guiao with just a little over a minute left to play and the outcome of the game already settled.

"After losing their last two games, I expected NLEX to come out hard. They refused to lose but because of pride and experience, we prevailed in the end," said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.

The Beermen took control completely after Miranda was tossed out of the game on a flagrant foul incurred in kicking Ross in the belly while the NLEX center was down on the floor.

Two charities by Ross followed by a perimeter jumper by Marcio Lassiter sparked a decisive run that had the Beermen breaking away from a 91-85 count with 4:35 left to play.

Miranda had a double-double game with 10 points and 11 rebounds that he ruined on his misconduct.

Kiefer Ravena, Alex Mallari, Raul Soyud and JR Quinahan also came through with double-digit outputs for the Road Warriors who put up a brave stand, even enjoying a nine-point lead at 58-49 at the turn.

Fajardo, Santos, Ross, Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot used their experience to the hilt to halt NLEX's young crew in the crunch.

Unfortunate was the incident between Ross and Guiao.

"According to Ross, he heard word that anybody doesn't want to hear. He flared up and I can't blame him," said Austria.

Before being thrown out, Ross had done his job, delivering eight rebounds, five assists, four points, one steal and a pesky defense on his matchup.

The game was also marred by a flagrant foul by Von Pessumal on Ravena in the third canto. Then there's also the confrontation between Ross and Mallari.

Meanwhile, Sean Anthony sparked GlobalPort's fiery start that sent the Batang Pier well on their way to a cruising 101-76 win over Blackwater.

On a day when league-leading scorer Stanley Pringle was relatively quiet, Anthony set the tone with 21 of his 22 points in the first half anchored on a near-impeccable three-point shooting binge that seemed to rub off on his teammates.

As a result, GlobalPort emerged with a fitting follow up to its 78-70 win over Rain or Shine last week and now has an even 2-2 record and a share of fourth-running spot.*pba.com


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