San Miguel secured its first victory in the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup by defeating Meralco, 93-83, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday.
Despite almost losing a 21-point lead in the third quarter, the Beermen managed to regain control of the game by employing a more balanced offensive strategy compared to the Bolts.
Ivan Aska led the charge with 27 points and 13 rebounds, while June Mar Fajardo recorded 17 points and 15 boards.
CJ Perez and Chris Ross also made significant contributions with 16 and 10 points, respectively.
The victory came after the Beermen’s forgettable debut game loss to NLEX in overtime, where they squandered a 19-point advantage.
Aska expressed his satisfaction in clinching the victory for San Miguel, especially after fouling out in their first game, which was a big factor in the team’s loss to the Road Warriors.
“I just learned my lesson from the first game. It was my first time, so the players and the coaching staff got me ready for the game,” said Aska.
“I told myself I have to stay in the game and just do what I do, play defense and offense.”
SMB coach Jorge Gallent mentioned that their rein has become more familiar with the officiating, and it was evident in their performance against the Bolts.
“I think he adjusted really well, the team needed an inside presence that’s why we got him. Despite his first game, like he said he did not know the calls and everything, imagine after one game he adjusted with the calls,” he said.
Meralco faced challenges with a shortage of manpower, as Allein Maliksi was unable to play due to a broken nose.
Despite Chris Newsome’s impressive performance of 22 points and six assists, it ultimately went to waste.
Aska effectively limited Suleiman Braimoh to 15 points, as he struggled with a 6-of-18 shooting from the field. Raymond Almazan contributed 11 points, while Cliff Hodge scored 10.
However, San Miguel also had its share of manpower woes, as Terrence Romeo had to leave the game in the second half due to a knee injury.