MANILA – San Miguel Beer head coach Leo Austria was pleased with the job done by their second group after the Beermen completed a come-from-behind victory over the TNT KaTropa in Iloilo on Saturday night.
The defending All-Filipino Cup champions trailed by 12 points in the opening frame, but steadily whittled down the deficit.
Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and Brian Heruela would provide quality minutes in the second half, as they anchored the crucial 11-0 run bridging the third and fourth frames that pushed San Miguel ahead, 65-61, with still 10 minutes left.
The reserves then came up with baskets midway through the payoff period that kept the Beermen ahead, before San Miguel's starting unit came back to finish the job. Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos would go on to hit booming triples in crunch time as SMB seized an 88-76 victory over the KaTropa.
"I'm so happy with the players off the bench, because they provided the energy for our starters," said Austria, after his bench unit came up with 22 points in the victory.
Ganuelas-Rosser had eight points, five rebounds, and three assists in just 16 minutes of action, while Heruela contributed five points, three rebounds, and two dimes in under nine minutes of playing time.
Their efforts in the final period allowed Chris Ross and Arwind Santos to get a breather before returning in crunch time.
"We realized that we needed some energy in the stretch, and it happened," said Austria. "I was able to preserve the energy of the first five."
Four players finished in double-digits for SMB, with reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo top-scoring with 20 points. With the win, the Beermen improved to 3-0 and took the solo lead in the standings.
"We're so happy with this win," Austria said. "We consider Talk 'N Text as a team to beat in this conference."
San Miguel returns to action on Friday against the NLEX Road Warriors, while the KaTropa will try to bounce back on Wednesday against Blackwater.
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