San Miguel fell to the grandslam-seeking San Mig Coffee 97-90, marking the end of a very disappointing and underwhelming return of the much-heralded San Miguel Beermen franchise.

Story of the Game

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4

San Miguel Beermen

27 21 22 20

San Mig Coffee Mixers

14 30 22 31

The game started out in great fashion for them as they looked like a team with a purpose, playing great on both ends, holding the Mixers to only 14 points while scoring 27. Unfortunately, that was their only good quarter as the Mixers made a huge run in the second thanks to the strong play of their bench, cutting the deficit to  four going into the half. Come the third quarter, San Miguel looked like a different team (not in a good way) as  they curiously went away from their game plan in the first half (dump the ball into June Mar Fajardo and pressure San Mig guards). As a result, the defensive intensity disappeared and the offense sputtered while SMC just showed that they had better coaching, more talent, and a deeper bench, running away with the game with a huge 4th quarter.

Key Stats


San Miguel Beermen

42.3% 40.9% 43.3% 59 25 41.7% 93 19 6 9.4%

San Mig Coffee Mixers

54.7% 48.7% 52.7% 48 13 27.7% 78 8 13 19.1%

Defense was the difference in this game as San Miguel could not get anything going from inside the arc, shooting at some abysmal rates. A big part of that was SMC’s ability to block shots, swatting away almost 20 percent of the Beermen’s attempts inside the paint. SMC on the other hand had too much success attacking the interior.

Surprisingly, San Miguel dominated the boards in this one, leading to a lot of second chance opportunities as well as more attempts. They could not take advantage however because of their poor interior defense. SMC did have less attempts but made more of them.

Keys to the Game

Knock ‘em Down

San Miguel struggled to hit their outside shots, knocking down only 6 of their 25 attempts (25 percent). Reggie Williams was the prime suspect, as he shot only 20 percent (2 of 10), seemingly unable to find the mark all game. Marcio Lassiter shot decently (2 of 6) as did Ronald Tubid (2 of 4), but they just could not hit enough of them to matter, unable to punish SMC for packing the paint and swarming Fajardo.

Bench Play

This was probably the biggest concern coming into the match and it proved to bring San Miguel’s downfall as their bench just could not respond to their counterparts.


San Miguel Beermen

61 20 29.4% 34.8% 14 9 5

San Mig Coffee Mixers

73 37 60.9% 59.6% 16 6 3

The biggest takeaway from this is the stark difference in shooting. They were pretty even everywhere but they just could not score as efficiently. They were getting continuously torched inside the 2-point area. Leading the way were Justin Melton (16 points, 74.3 percent TS), Allein Maliksi (9 points, 50.7 percent TS), and Ian Sangalang (8 points, 8 rebounds, 19.9 percent TRB%). Melton in particular covered for the absence of PJ Simon and the subpar performance of Mark Barroca. San Miguel could not find an answer for him as he burned Sol Mercado again and again on offense, particularly through jumpers and transition layups. It made you wonder who the rookie was in that situation.

As for the Beermen off the bench, Ross didn’t perform particularly well offensively. In 21 minutes, he only produced 5 points on 14.3 percent shooting as he could not hit any of his layups. What he did do well was rebound the ball (6 rebounds, 12.8 percent TRB%) and facilitate (7 assists, 17.2 percentAST%). Tubid was the only other bench player that had a good outing (16 minutes, 8 points, 2 triples, 42.9 percent FG, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks) but that just wasn’t enough.

Ross and the bench vastly outplayed by Melton and company. (Photo Credit: Mark Cristino, Pinoy Exchange)

Ross and the bench vastly outplayed by Melton and company. (Photo Credit: Mark Cristino, Pinoy Exchange)

Embrace the Underdog

As I mentioned earlier, they started out with a purpose as they were aggressive on both ends. That lack of consistency just hurt them as they could not maintain that intensity for a full 48 minutes.

Key Match-up

The Sparks: Chris Ross vs. Mark Barroca

Both of them didn’t have good shooting nights but Ross was able to contribute in other ways while Melton covered for Barroca. With the sudden line-up change, they didn’t really match up a whole lot in the 1st half. By the time they did in the 4th quarter, SMC was just too much of a force. Of note also was that Ross could not take advantage of his size advantage, owing a lot to SMC’s interior defense as well as to his injured calf.

Game Notes

 The Kraken Defeated

Fajardo once again found himself on the losing end as his game was for naught. The biggest reason for SMC’s victory was their very good defensive game plan against him.



8 4 4 100.00% 8

rest of the game

8 3 11 27.3% 7

He was extremely dominant in the 1st quarter, seemingly scoring at will and dominating the glass, already with with eight points and eight rebounds while making all of his shots. But the Mixers simply tightened the defense, swarming him, throwing multiple defenders, and making life hell in the low post. The result was a dismal shooting display as well as the inability to get into good rebounding position. He was rendered a non-factor for much of the second half.

Aside from the good defense shown, it was also the fault of the coaches and players themselves. Seeing that he was struggling to score, what was their solution? Ignore him completely. There were no ball reversals, high-low action, nor any pick and rolls. They just didn’t give him the ball at all. He had close to zero touches in the fourth, even if he played almost the entire period. That just cannot be a recipe for success. Even if he’s struggling, you have to find a way to get your most dominant player to successfully get the ball and score. They didn’t do a concerted effort of involving him in plays and it cost them dearly.

SMC's interior defense suffocated the Kraken. (Photo Credit: Nuki Sabio,

SMC’s interior defense suffocated the Kraken. (Photo Credit: Nuki Sabio, Inquirer)

Williams and Santos


Reggie Williams

43 21 48.0% 10 10.4%

Arwind Santos

43 21 50.1% 11 11.5%

The other 2 players that make up the Big 3 still had pretty good outings. Williams’ ugly 3-point shooting brought down his overall efficiency by a huge amount. He still shot pretty well inside the arc however (54.6 percent from 2-point range). He also contributed in the rebounding department, especially defensively (19.0 percent DRB). But the amount of points he scored left a lot to be desired, especially compared to his conference averages.

Santos had probably his best game of the conference. He shot the ball well and was actually aggressive going to the bucket (9 free throws attempted). He rebounded decently as well, having splits of 11.5/11.2/11.8. But basketball isn’t played on just one side as he was atrocious defensively. He could not defend anyone at all in this game, whether it be Pingris, Devance, Sangalang, or even Melton. He wasn’t aggressive in his close-outs and contests. He wasn’t boxing out either as he was caught just watching the play.

Just not enough defense from Santos. (Photo Credit: Nuki Sabio, Interaksyon)

Just not enough defense from Santos. (Photo Credit: Nuki Sabio, Interaksyon)

With that, San Miguel faces another offseason of disappointment and uncertainty. There are so many questions that need answers but those answers won’t be easy to come by. Will they finally be able to go back to their winning ways next season? We’ll just have to wait and see to find out.