NO RUST

Well-rested Beer­men rout re­vamped Road War­riors

Cebu Daily News - - SPORTS - /MUSONG CASTILLO OF THE INQUIRER

Game To­day (Iba­long Cen­trum for Recre­ation) 5 p.m. – Alaska vs TNT KaTropa

It turned out that San Miguel Beer coach Leo Aus­tria had lit­tle to worry. Com­ing off a long break Aus­tria couldn’t use ef­fec­tively, the Beer­men shook off a bad start be­fore go­ing on to rout NLEX, 114-108 for the perfect warm-up to a crit­i­cal phase of their elim­i­na­tion round sched­ule in the PBA Com­mis­sioner’s Cup that would prove crit­i­cal to San Miguel’s drive for a top two play­off berth.

Charles Rhodes scored 37 points and had 19 re­bounds and Chris Ross missed a triple dou­ble by just three boards af­ter 15 points and 11 as­sists as the Beer­men led by as large as 24 at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay be­fore ta­per­ing off a bit in the stretch and ris­ing to 6-1.

The win kept the Beer­men well on track to a top two fin­ish – and a twice-to-beat in­cen­tive in the first round of the play­offs – as they en­ter a tough phase of their sched­ule with matches against Barangay Gine­bra and Alaska com­ing up.

“We were slug­gish in the first quar­ter. I was re­ally wor­ried com­ing into this game be­cause of our long lay­off,” Aus­tria said af­ter get­ting all starters and a to­tal of six men in dou­ble dig­its,, count­ing June Mar Fa­jardo.

Fa­jardo, San Miguel’s 6-foot-10 cor­ner­stone, suited up de­spite com­ing from na­tional team duty just the night be­fore and con­trib­uted 12 points in a 30-minute stint.

“I’m happy to see him back in the lineup,” Aus­tria said of Fa­jardo. “I salute his pro­fes­sion­al­ism.”

Aus­tria, though, said that he and coach­ing staff will fine­tune their de­fense, es­pe­cially against the Gin Kings on Sun­day. Gine­bra, in­ci­den­tally, was still play­ing de­fend­ing cham­pion Rain or Shine at press time, look­ing to keep in step with the Beer­men.

PBA IM­AGES

Charles Rhodes of San Miguel is un­con­tested as he dunks the ball in a game against NLEX.

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