San Miguel showed more poise at the crunch to escape with a 100-98 decision against Magnolia on Sunday and grab a piece of the PBA Governors’ Cup lead at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Cameron Clark, Marcio Lassiter and Simon Enciso provided the clutch points for the Beermen in the stretch that held off the Hotshots and pointed them home to their fourth win in as many games and tie idle co-leaders Converge and NLEX.
Still, it took a miss by Magnolia’s Paul Lee from deep in the dying seconds before the Hotshots officially dropped to a 0-3 record while SMB grabbed the win that was a far cry from the Beermen’s first three games, when they won by an average of 20 points.
The squeaker was enough to please SMB coach Jorge Gallent somewhat, especially with the way his charges handled themselves in the face of Magnolia’s unrelenting pressure.
“Magnolia is a very strong and well-organized team so this was a really big game for us, just to put us to where we stand in this league,” said Gallent.
“I told the players to forget about the first three games because Magnolia is really a strong and good team,” added Gallent. “So it’s good we won tonight, beating a strong team.”
Despite falling behind by 12 points early and plunging into a 91-100 hole going to the last 1:20 of play, Magnolia did exactly as what Gallent feared and suddenly strung up seven straight points through Mark Barroca and Calvin Abueva to come within 98-100.