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SMB averts collapse, hands Meralco first loss

Chris Ross hit timely baskets to bail out San Miguel and hand Meralco its first loss courtesy of a 93-83 win in the 2023 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, Nov. 19.

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Ivan Aska bounces back after fouling out in the first game for SMB (PBA Images)

Ross scored seven in the Beermen’s pivotal 8-2 finishing kick that slammed the door on the stubborn Bolts squad which battled back from an early 21-point deficit.

Memories of SMB’s horrendous opening game loss against NLEX where it led by as many as 19 points but collapsed in the end flashed back when the Beermen’s once 51-30 lead was trimmed down to single digits.

Fortunately, import Ivan Aska managed to stay away from foul trouble to help keep SMB afloat, scoring 11 of his 27 points in the final frame and when Meralco cut the lead down to single digits.

It was a fitting bounce back for the SMB import who was reduced to a spectator in the final six minutes of regulation and overtime in their 117-113 loss to the Road Warriors.

Aska also added 13 rebounds and two steals across his name. June Mar Fajardo chipped in a double-double of 17 points and 15 rebounds while CJ Perez had 16.

Ross wound up with 10 points to provide a huge lift for the Beermen who notched their first win in the conference despite missing the services of Jericho Cruz, Marcio Lassiter, and Jeron Teng.

It also didn’t help that Terrence Romeo exited the game in the second quarter due to a knee injury and Kyt Jimenez was forced to head back to the bench after receiving an elbow to the face from Cliff Hodge.

Meralco came closest at four points, 81-85, with 2:14 left following back-to-back triples from Chris Newsome. The veteran and playing assistant coach for the team Ross then retaliated with a personal 5-0 run – first a booming triple and cold-blooded free throws to restore order for the Beermen.

Newsome led Meralco with 22 points while import Su Braimoh struggled offensively finishing with 15 points along with 12 boards.

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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