Shabazz Muhammad made two important charities at endgame to cap a 33-point and 21-rebound performance as San Miguel Beer rebounded from a disappointment and virtually clinched a quarterfinals berth with a 104-100 decision over Rain or Shine Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
On Sunday, Muhammad had 27 markers and 17 rebounds that proved not enough to celebrate a winning PBA debut against the Magnolia Hotshots who played the spoilers’ role to the hilt.
Muhammad and the Beermen, however, returned to play with a greater resolve and rewarded themselves with a key win that sent them to the brink of an outright Governors’ Cup playoffs entry.
“Meron na kaming tsansa pumasok. Yung sa Top Four, we don’t know yet. But we’ll prepare hard for our last game as we prepare for the playoffs,” said coach Leo Austria whose troops eye a 7-4 closing mark in their last game against the Meralco Bolts (6-3) Saturday.
Vic Manuel poured in 18 points off the bench, with Terrence Romeo (17), June Mar Fajardo (14) and CJ Perez (11) also putting in double-digit outputs as starters as the Beermen thwarted the Elasto Painters and in the process moved up to joint fourth with the Alaska Milk Aces.
The Elasto Painters kissed their playoff hopes goodbye as they reeled to a fifth straight loss and closed out their campaign in the season-ending tourney with a poor 3-8 card.
Rain or Shine fought back from 19 points down in the first half largely behind Henry Walker, Beau Belga, Jewel Ponferada and Rey Nambatac only to come up short in the end.