Dragons on cusp of PBA Finals after 19-point rout of Beermen
Bay Area spoiled the return of San Miguel head coach Leo Austria and moved one win away from a stint in the Finals of the PBA Season 47 Commissioner’s Cup.
After a tight opening quarter, the Dragons outscored the Beermen in the succeeding three periods to secure a 19-point win, 114-95, in Game 2 of the best-of-five semifinals, Friday night at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
The lopsided victory gave the guest squad a 2-0 edge heading into Game 3 which is scheduled on Sunday, December 18, 4:30pm at the same venue.
Andrew Nickolson paced the visitors with 34 points on 12-of-21 shooting with 6-of-9 coming from beyond the arc. The 33-year old former NBA player also tallied 16 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals in 37 minutes of action.
“We want to do everything we can to win when we can. Play one game at a time. I’m not thinking sweep, I’m just thinking about the next game. And try to win that, and keep this momentum going,” said Bay Area head coach Brian Goorjian during the post-game presser.
“We’re down 10-2 or whatever, he [June Mune Fajardo] had almost 10 points. I didn’t see the numbers tonight, but he did hurt us. It’s something we’ve got to be aware of early and throughout the game is how we defend him,” he added.
Fajardo paced the defending champions with 35 points on a sizzling 15-of-20 shooting from the field. The league’s one and only 6-time MVP also finished with 10 rebounds, an assist and a block in 37 minutes of play. Marcio Lassiter scored 15 while SMB import Devon Scott and CJ Perez chipped in 14 and 13 markers, respectively.
Austria returned to the bench after missing the team’s last 7 games due to league health and safety protocols. In his absence, lead assistant Jorge Gallent called the shots and led the Beermen to six straight wins before absorbing his first loss in the opener of the ongoing series.
Bay Area 114 – Nicholson 34, Lam 25, Yang 13, Zhu 13, Blankley 11, Liu 10, Ju 4, Zheng 2, Reid 2, Song 0, Ewing 0, Si 0, Liang 0.
San Miguel 95 – Fajardo 35, Lassiter 15, Scott 14, Perez 13, Manuel 9, Romeo 5, Brondial 2, Zamar 2, Enciso 0, Ross 0, Cruz 0, Canete 0.
Quarterscores: 26-25, 52-42, 80-66, 114-95.
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