Ivan Aska finished the game this time and Chris Ross came up with some timely points at the crunch, enabling San Miguel Beer to beat Meralco, 93-83, Sunday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Aska wound up with 27 points and 13 rebounds while playing excellent defense on Bolts counterpart Su Braimoh which prevented the latter from sustaining any offensive rhythm.
Still, it took Ross’ triple and pair of charities before SMB could finally shake off Meralco, which managed to close in at 81-85, still 2:15 left in the game, and wrap up the wire-to-wire win.
In the end, the Beermen improved to an even 1-1 record after bouncing back from a 103-108 overtime loss to NLEX last Wednesday, when Aska fouled out with still 6:28 left in regulation.
“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 (this) game,” said Aska. “I told myself I have to stay in the game and just do what I do, play defense and offense.”
Foremost among those who were pleased with Aska’s showing this time around was Beermen coach Jorge Gallent. “The team needed an inside presence, that’s why we got him,” he said.
The loss cut short Meralco’s 2-0 start to the season and negated Chris Newsome’s 22-point, six-assist performance.