The San Miguel Beermen overcame their loss in Game 2 of the Playoff Series against the Westports Malaysia Dragons with a 90-56 win to earn themselves the final ticket in the AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League’s Season 3 Finals. The Beermen will once again play hosts next weekend as they welcome the Indonesia Warriors in a best of three series that will determine who will be the champions for the AirAsia ABL’s third season.
The Beermen had a great game from the field as five of their players scored in the double digits in this game led by Nick Fazekas’ 21 points and 19 rebounds. The other scorers were Leo Avenido scored 18 points, Duke Crews with 15, Junmar Fajardo with 11 points and Chris Banchero with 10.
Despite the loss, the Dragons’ Tiras Wade was the point leader in the game with 25 points, followed by Brian Williams’ 12 points and John Ng who rounded up the Dragons’ top three with 8 points.
It was a close first quarter until the Beermen pulled away with a five point lead after just over six minutes of play. Dragons’ big man Brian Williams was noticeably uncomfortable on the court however as he struggled with a stomach upset but continued to play on. At the other end of the court the Beermen’s Chris Banchero was outstanding, putting in 8 of the Beermen’s first quarter points. Both teams struggled to find their rhythm however but the Dragons pulled it back at the end, keeping the Beermen to just two points in the final two minutes to grab the early 20-18 lead going into the second quarter.
Things got heated up in the second quarter, both teams knowing that this is their final chance to get into the ABL 2012 Finals. The Beermen worked hard and tied up the game at 31 all with 3:53 left until the halftime buzzer thanks to Crews’ converted free throws but Wade answers immediately with a 3 point play to tie things up again at 34. The Dragons still had a lot of problems on the court however and recorded 8 turnovers in the first half compared to the Beermen’s 3 and in the end the Beermen walked into the locker rooms at the halftime break with the lead at 37 to 35.
Things did not look better for the Dragons in the third quarter as Brian Williams had to leave the court with over 8 minutes left to play to be checked out for, what Dragons officials said, was food poisoning. Williams eventually rejoined his team on the court to see the Beeremen on a run that earned them a 20 point lead with 4:38 to go in the final quarter.
With the Finals on the line, the Dragons tried hard to close in on the gap but they simply did not look like the same team that defeated the Beermen last weekend. Sharpshooter Cabahug was unable to sink in any baskets in this game and with Williams less than 100% they were outrebounded 56 to 34 in this game. At the other end of the court, Avenido and Banchero were running riot on the court as the Beermen outscored the Dragons 29 to 10 in this quarter which earned them the 66 to 45 lead going into the fourth.
The Dragons were still woeful in the final quarter, scoring just 4 points in 5 minutes of play to see themselves at the wrong end of the 78 to 49 scoreline with 5:13 left until their Championship hopes were over. The Beermen still showed no mercy despite the big gap and proved their dominance as they demolished the Dragons 90 to 56 to grab the final ticket to the ABL Season 3 Finals.
Beermen: Nick Fazekas – 21, Leo Avenido – 18, Duke Crews – 15, Junmar Fajardo – 11, Chris Banchero – 10, Christian Luanzon – 7, Aris Dimaunahan – 6, John Ferriols – 2.
Dragons: Tiras Wade – 25, Brian Williams – 12, John Ng – 8, Chris Pacana – 5, Loh Shee Fai – 3, Nic Belasco – 2, Seelan Kuppusamy – 1.