San Miguel Beermen is just one win away from becoming the 2012 AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League Champions in their maiden season after they rallied from a 7-point deficit in the fourth quarter of Game 1 to defeat the Warriors 86-83. The series now shift to Warriors’ homecourt Mahaka Square on Saturday and the Warriors are facing a must-win Game 2.
Beermen’s head coach Bobby Parks hopes his team will have a better start in Game 2. The Beermen were down by as many as 14 points in the first half of Game 1. “The important thing is we have to get off to a good start. Tonight [Game 1], we didn’t really play well in the beginning but we hung around. I don’t know if that was a little rust or a little championship jitters but we managed to keep our composure.” saidCoach Parks last Saturday after Game 1.
Both teams traded baskets down the stretch in that game. Beermen’s Leo Avenido split his free throws to make it 86-83 with 13 seconds left, which left the door open for the Warriors to tie the game. HoweverMario Wuysang, who had a decent look from the corner, missed the potential game-tying three point shot.
Duke Crews led the Beermen with 22 points, followed by Avenido with 21 points and Nick Fazekas with 18 points plus 13 rebounds. Beermen’s veteran point guard Froilan Baguion made a huge contribution off the bench. Baguion, who has won two championships in the ABL, showed his leadership and made a couple of crucial big plays down the stretch.
“I want to provide leadership. I’m keeping everybody focused and also reminding everybody to just play our game.” said Baguion in his post-game interview last weekend. Baguion hit an important 3-point shotwhich tied the game at 77 and also dished out a nice pass to Fazekas for a one hand running shot plus a foul to give the Beermen an 80-77 lead.
For the Warriors, free throw shooting was an issue as they shot 13 for 23 from the charity. “I had good shooters missing free throws and that happens. There is no technique that I can talk about or anything. It’s just a matter of putting the work in.” said Warriors head coach Todd Purves.
Indonesia also needs to get much more out of their bench. They only had 7 points off the bench, all of which was scored by Canada. Coach Purves will rely on his bench to step up in Game 2. “I need to get some guys more minutes earlier in the game. When it comes to my rotation, I’m going to rely on the bench a little more. They will need to step up.” said Coach Purves.
Evan Brock led the Warriors with 24 points while Stanley Pringle added 21 points. Both Brock and Pringle will need to be exceptional for all 40 minutes if the Warriors want to keep their championship hopes alive. Steven Thomas, who finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds, will also be a big factor in Game 2 especially on the defensive end. The Warriors would also need a great shooting night from both Mario Wuysang and Allan Salangsang.