Philippine Daily Inquirer


- By Jonas Terrado @jonasterra­doINQ

San Miguel Beer kept its unblemishe­d record in the Philippine Basketball Associatio­n (PBA) Philippine Cup on Wednesday, but not after threading the eye of the needle against Terrafirma.

And the way the Dyip kept themselves in the thick of the fight at Ninoy Aquino Stadium before the Beermen got a 113-110 victory is another indication that the traditiona­l also-ran should be taken seriously this conference.

“[That’s] not a scared team anymore,” San Miguel coach Jorge Gallent said. “It’s a team that is hungry, it’s a team that wants to enter the quarters because they have a good chance now. And that’s why they’re playing like that.”

It took a big fourth quarter from an unlikely source, or another piece in the puzzle in the roster dubbed as “Death 15” in Mo Tautuaa to propel San Miguel to a 5-0 record and stay on top of the standings.

Tautuaa scored 17 of his season-high 24 points in the fourth quarter, including two three-point shots, to provide cover for usual big producers in June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez.

Terrafirma dropped to an even 4-4 slate after falling short of pulling off a second straight upset that saw coach Johnedel Cardel’s wards defeat Barangay Ginebra three nights prior at the same venue.

And from Gallent’s observatio­n, playing Terrafirma is no longer cherry picking unlike in past conference­s.

Juami Tiongson, Javi Gomez de Liaño, Isaac Go and rookie Stephen Holt again played to expectatio­ns for Terrafirma even in defeat.

As for San Miguel, it is glad to produce another win with a player like Tautuaa coming through.

Tautuaa came in the contest averaging 7.3 points, and Gallent had said earlier in the conference that his performanc­e will play a role on how San Miguel can ease Fajardo’s playing minutes, especially with the seven-time Most Valuable Player nursing injuries almost on a consistent basis.

 ?? IMAGES —PBA ?? Mo Tautuaa rises to carry the fight for San Miguel.
IMAGES —PBA Mo Tautuaa rises to carry the fight for San Miguel.

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