ABL: San Miguel Beermen get revenge on Indonesia Warriors
The Beermen, the sole Philippine team this season after the AirAsia Philippine Patriots took a leave of absence, revamped nearly their entire roster, bringing back just four players from a line-up that came a game away from raising the championship trophy. But their offseason moves worked out, at least for this game, as SMB was in control for much of the way.
[Related: Examining the 2013 San Miguel Beermen line-up]
The season opener began with the two teams fighting off rust, as they combined for just 25 points in the first quarter. Christopher Daniels and Steven Thomas drew first blood for Indonesia, but they soon found themselves lagging behind, as San Miguel turned a 4-4 tie into an 11-5 advantage.
Mario Wuysang hit a triple to draw Indonesia close, 11-8, but Gabe Freeman and Chris Banchero waxed hot, accounting for 14 of their side's 16-point quarter output, to go up by seven over the Warriors.
In the second period, former Adamson Falcon Jerick Canada tried to take it to his collegiate coach and new SMB mentor Leo Austria, scoring to pull Indonesia within three points, 26-23, 1:48 left in the half. His counterpart on the other side, Banchero, and Brian Williams made sure it was at least a two-possession lead though, going into halftime up 30-25 halftime lead.
After the break, a spit at the line by Steven Thomas made it a three-point affair anew, 32-29, 7:52 left in the quarter, but Williams this time teamed up with reigning MVP Leo Avenido to create separation.
The Warriors' deficit shrank to as little as seven in the final quarter, but an Avenido triple made it a double-digit lead for SMB, and the rest of the Beermen were then able to keep their foes at an arm's length for the rest of the way, until the final buzzer sounded.
Brian Williams led SMB with 15 points and 19 rebounds in 31 minutes of play, while Chris Banchero quarterbacked the squad to the tune of 14 points, two rebounds and two assists.
PBA veterans Eric Menk and Asi Taulava had relatively quiet ABL debuts. Menk managed six points and two boards, while Taulava finished with just two markers, though he managed to haul down a whopping 10 rebounds.
Steven Thomas and Chris Daniels paced Indonesia with 15 and 10 points, respectively. Jerick Canada aded nine markers and two steals while taking the starting point guard position.
[Related: Fil-Am guard Stanley Pringle sidelined for 12 weeks]
The Warriors clearly missed the services of their lead floor general Stanley Pringle, who will be out for at least 11 more weeks due to meniscus surgery.
SMB's next assignment will be on January 26, against the Saigon Heat at the Tan Binh Stadium in Vietnam. They'll then make their home debut on February 1 at the Ynares Sports Arena, to cap a home-and-away series versus the Heat. - AMD, GMA News
SMB 64 - Williams 15, Banchero 14, Avenido 10, Rizada 9, Freeman 8, Menk 6, Taulava 2, Cawaling 0, Hubalde 0, Luanzon 0
IND 53 - Thomas 15, Daniels 10, Canada 9, J. Smith 7, Wuysang 6, Sitepu 3, Prihantono 3, R. Smith 0, Indrajaya 0
Quarter scoring: 16-9, 30-25, 45-36, 64-53