San Miguel edged out Meralco, 113-108, Friday at the PhilSports Arena in a game which the defending champion would be drawing some lessons from heading into a tough match-up in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals.
After the building up as much as a 25-point third quarter lead, the Beermen had to do some scrambling in the stretch to fend off the Bolts and end the eliminations with a fourth straight win that gave them a 7-5 record and officially the fifth seed in the next round.
How to not let up on the pedal or at least display the same poise down the stretch should be the primary concerns of SMB as it takes on former tormentor and fourth-ranked Converge in a best-of-three quarterfinal showdown.
“I think we showed a lot of focus down the stretch even though we let the lead go down,” noted Devon Scott who finished with 32 points and 13 rebounds with the last two of his markers off the stripe that put the game away in the last 4.4 seconds.
“I think going forward to Converge we want to continue to have the same grit and focus,” added Scott. “They have a lot of great players, they have a really good import. But the focus and the attention to detail that we had for three quarters is what we have to take for the next game.”
The loss, its third straight and eighth against four wins in all, officially relegated Meralco to 10th place, its worst ever in a conference with imports.
KJ McDaniels wound up with 27 points and eight rebounds, Aaron Black avoided the second half vanishing act he has had in the Bolts’ past two games to finish with 21 points and Raymar Jose chipped in 16 points and a career-high 16 caroms.