San Miguel closed it out right this time to secure a crucial 108-104 victory over Phoenix that boosted its playoffs drive in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Saturday at the PhilSports Arena.
The Beermen led by as many as 13 but unlike in their back-to-back losses to Ginebra and Magnolia last time, held tough in the face of the Fuel Masters’ fiery uprising to pull through and get back on track.
With their fourth win in nine outings, the coach Leo Austria-less defending champions vaulted back into the Magic 8 from their previous spot of 10th and drew level with idle Meralco and TNT at seventh to ninth places.
“Every game now is a knockout game for us and it will play a big factor in our efforts to move up the standings,” said assistant coach Jorge Gallent, who called the shots while Austria was out on health and safety protocols.
“So we have to play 48 minutes of ‘San Miguel basketball’ each time.”
Simon Enciso led six SMB players in double figures in this effort to pump life into their sagging campaign and rebound from previous heartaches versus Ginebra (97-96) and Magnolia (85-80).
Enciso rifled in 20 points spiked by a six-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc, while adding seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.