Beermen too strong for Road Warriors

SAN Miguel Beer's slotman June Mar Fajardo is flanked by NLEX defenders Asi Taulava (#88) and import Arnett Moultrie as he goes for a shot during PBA Commissioner's Cup Petron Saturday Special action on Friday at the Calasiao Sports Complex in Calasiao, Pangasinan. PBA Images

San Miguel Beer threw the full might of its offense in the third period as it routed NLEX, 125-114, to clinch a quarterfinal berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Saturday at the Calasiao Sports Complex in Calasiao, Pangasinan.

The Beermen were simply too strong for the Road Warriors, although the two teams engaged in a close battle in the second quarter.

The Beermen soon started to overwhelm the undermanned Road Warriors and by the end of the first half, they were already leading, 65-55.

June Mar Fajardo cut loose with 30 points and 13 rebounds while Renaldo Balkman added 25 points and 16 rebounds as the Beermen improved to 5-4.

The Road Warriors saw their import Arnett Moultrie pump in 43 points and grab 14 rebounds but couldn’t help NLEX stop the Beermen.

It was the 8th setback against two wins for Road Warriors who have been long out of the running.

Meanwhile, Alaska tangles with Barangay Ginebra while Rain or Shine shoots for number one spot in a pair of interesting matches today at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Although the Aces skidded last time around, they haven’t lost the other teams’ respect.

Even Ginebra coach Tim Cone swore he is not feeling comfortable about his Gin Kings playing the Aces in a game crucial to them (Kings).

“If we had the choice, we could think of a few other teams we’d rather be playing so that we can make that top 6,” said Cone, whose Kings clash with the Aces on Sunday in the 6:45 p.m. main offering.

“But we don’t, so Alaska it is. It’s going to be a terrific battle,” added Cone.

The Gin Kings are hard-pressed to corner their last two outings including against the Aces and Globalport on Friday to land a spot in the quarterfinal round.

The Gin Kings are on a roll with three straight victories capped by last Wednesday’s 134-107 spanking of Columbian Dyip in a game where Justine Brownlee banged in 24 points.

Now, the league’s most popular ball club tries to keep their hot streak going as they play the Aces in the first tussle at 6:45 p.m. in a game between two teams that fought in the finals of the same conference in 2013.

The Aces had previously gone with seven straight victories before they fell in ambush to Meralco, 89-74, last Sunday.

At 7-2, the Aces could cement one of top two berths with a win today over the Gin Kings who are gunning for their fifth win in ten games.

“Tough game, tough opponent, but so crucial for both teams. Alaska has had a brilliant conference,” added Cone.

The Bolts, meanwhile, go up against Rain or Shine’s Elasto Painters in an equally-exciting battle of favorites in the first game at 4:30 p.m.

The game is just as crucial as it could very well result into a shake-up in the upper half of the standings and give rise to complicated race for the top two berths that offer the luxury of having to win only once in the quarterfinals.

The scores:

San Miguel 125 – Fajardo 30, Lassiter 26, Balkman 25, Cabagnot 17, Ross 12, Heruela 4, Santos 4, Rosser 3, Mamaril 2, Nabong 2, Pessumal 0. NLEX 114 – Moultrie 43, Taulava 18, Tiongson 8, Baguio 7, Ighalo 6, Quinahan 6, Tallo 6, Uyloan 5, Rios 5, Soyud 5, Buenafe 3, Gotladera 2, Marcelo 0.

Quarters: 31-34, 65-55, 97-85, 125-114.