Bay Area proved to be steadier down the stretch as the top-seeded guest team completed a fightback from 16 points to steal Game 1 from San Miguel, 103-102, Wednesday in the semifinal round of the PBA Season 47 Commissioner’s Cup at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
The Beermen were able to keep the Dragons at bay up until the third frame but encountered stiff resistance and eventually collapsed in the payoff period as lead assistant Jorge Gallent absorbed his first loss since taking over from head coach Leo Austria who continues to be out due to the league’s health and safety protocols.
Kobey Lam sank the go-ahead lay-up off the break with 7.1 seconds left to give his team the victory and a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-five series.
“What I’m most proud about is when they got on top of us, we never quit. We stayed in the game,” said head coach Brian Goorjian during the post-game presser. “We never let it go. And then, as the game went on, now you got 22, 23-year-old legs still out on that floor and it played to our advantage.”
“Nicholson was great, obviously Myles has been great. But I keep talking about the future of this thing is the local content, and their development. And this has been so good for them,” he added.
CJ Perez paced the Beermen with 24 points on 10-of-23 shooting with 2-of-5 coming from long distance. The top-overall pick of the 2018 draft also collected 7 boards and 2 dimes in 27 minutes of action. Terrence Romeo and Marcio Lassiter fired 21 and 16 points, respectively while the duo of Jericho Cruz and June Mar Fajardo added 11 markers apiece.
SMB import Devon Scott struggled all-game long and could only muster 9 points on 4-of-10 shooting to go with 8 rebounds and 8 assists in 44 minutes of play.
The defending champions will try to equalize the series when the two sides clash in Game 2 which is set on Friday, December 16, 5:45pm at the same venue.
Bay Area 103 – Nicholson 30, Zhu 19, Blankley 15,Ju 13, Lam 12, Yang 9, Liu 5, Song 0, Reid 0.
San Miguel 102 – Perez 24, Romeo 21, Lassiter 16, Cruz 11, Fajardo 11, Scott 9, Enciso 8, Ross 2, Brondial 0.
Quarterscores: 23-31, 51-59, 78-89, 103-102.