The San Miguel Beermen drub the hapless Blackwater Elite in a 29-point rout, 91-62. More importantly, they finish number one in the standings and get an automatic semis berth for their effort. Leading the way were conference-high performances from Ronald Tubid and Sol Mercado.
The result was never really in doubt for much of the contest as they used a huge 31-point second quarter to turn what was a six-point advantage into a 19-point lead at the half. Blackwater didn’t threaten to make a run for the rest of the game.
It wasn’t much of a contest as San Miguel simply overpowered Blackwater on both ends of the floor. Once again, they had another efficient scoring as they established their dominance in the paint early (28-12 points in the paint). When the defense converged, that allowed them hit outside shooters, resulting in a 9/17 clip from deep. They actually lost the battle on the offensive glass, as the Elite held a 16-11 edge in both offensive rebounds and second chance opportunities. But that was rendered irrelevant as San Miguel superior defense just proved to much as they made it hell for Blackwater to score in the halfcourt. Turnovers remain to be as they had 10 in the first half alone and 16 for the game. Fortunately, the Elite could only convert on 9 turnover points.
Key Stats: Bench Play
The biggest difference was the bench play. This is especially important for a team heavily reliant on the starting 5 producing and playing big minutes every game. Of course, it was a blowout, but it was nice to see the impact these players had coming into the game. Both groups were pretty similar in the rebounds and assists department. The difference was in the scoring. They had actually had similar FG numbers (starters were 15/36 while bench was 18/37) but taking 3-pointers and FTs into account results in a much higher TS% for the bench unit.
Tubid was named player of the game as he led the team in scoring a conference-high 18 points, missing only one shot the entire game (6/7 from the field, 2/3 from deep, 4/4 from the line). He also had 5 boards and 3 dimes. He’s quietly been having probably his best conference for the Beermen, heavily influenced by the confidence of Coach Leo Austria. Honorable mention would have to go to Mercado. Prior to the game, he was involved in trade rumors and he seemingly answered as he also registered a conference-high 15 points to go along with his 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Like Tubid, he was almost spotless from the field (4/6 FGs, 2/2 threes, 5/5 FTs). It would be his last game however as, as of this writing, it has been confirmed that he’ll be shipped back to Globalport Batang Pier for Alex Cabagnot. I know I haven’t been his biggest fan but I do appreciate Mercado’s effort and sacrifice to win a championship. His transition from main scorer to role player has been anything but smooth but he knew what had to be done to win. I wish him all the best in his career.
I have to give special mention as well to the returning Marcio Lassiter. He didn’t look like he missed the last two weeks as he hit three straight bombs from deep in the second quarter to help build the lead. More perimeter shooting and defense is always a welcome addition. San Miguel won’t always see this much production from the bench (and not many blowouts) but it does say a lot about how they can produce when given the opportunity. Hopefully this good play translates into the playoffs.
I admit I was skeptical about what San Miguel could do after the disaster of last season, but good coaching and good play has brought them where they want to be, at the top of the standing. Now we will have to see if they can bring the same type of play into the semis and beyond. The road to redemption starts here. #FearTheBeer
Featured Image Credit: Christopher Newsome, The Shaded Lane