ABL: Beermen snap Warriors’ winning streak

The San Miguel Beerman ended the Indonesian Warriors’ seven-game winning streak after winning the top of the table clash 57-52 at the Tennis Indoor Senayan.

Chris Banchero, San Miguel Beermen

The Warriors hosted the Beermen just two days after setting an ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) record of seven straight wins by defeating the Chang Thailand Slammers on Wednesday, but coach Todd Purves was unable to extend the record, largely due to Chris Banchero's 19-point effort which sparked the visiting side to victory.

It was a tight encounter between the two top sides in the ABL and the game looked like it was a foregone conclusion when the Warriors commanded an 11-point lead in the third quarter, but Leo Austria's side rallied to come from behind and down the Warriors in their last match before the Hoop Fest break next week.

The game started off with coach Purves turning to his go-to strategy of slowing down the game and focusing on defence - a strategy which saw Austria's men barely reach the double-digit mark by the first quarter at 13-10. 

The Warriors were also helped by the Beermen's attempts to emulate their defensive style - Banchero in particular was excellent in making the quick defensive transition to stop the Warriors on the break and forced offensive charging fouls on both Jerick Canada and Mario Wuysang in the second quarter.

Shorn of top scorer Gabe Freeman due to injury, the Beermen seemed bereft of ideas to rack up the points as they tried to patiently slice open the solid Warriors defence to little result and went into the halfway break with only nine points scored in the second period with the scoreboard reading 25-19.

In contrast, the Warriors' point leader Chris Daniels was clinical - the forward finished the game with 16 points, a 42% accuracy from the field and grabbed 16 rebounds in total. .

At half time, coach Purves was pleased with his side's performance under their own basket, where they won 15 defensive rebounds at that point.

He said: "From our perspective, we have always wanted the defensive rebounds and we are doing well so far. As long as we focus on getting it, we should be able to pull off something here."

The Warriors continued to squeeze the points out of the game and managed extend the lead to 11 points at 33-22 four minutes into the third quarter via John Smith, who swooshed in a three-pointer from way beyond the line to beat the shot clock.

It was at this point that the Beermen seem to awaken from their slumber and embark on a game-changing 14-1 run to overturn the deficit in style.

Banchero was the focal point for his side as they upped the rhythem of the game, playing early passes into the paint and catching the Warriors on the break. The 23-year-old guard poured in nine points while Ricardo Cawaling Jr. added five points in an three minute streak where the Beermen shot 100% from the field to take the lead at 36-34.

New signing Jeric Marco Fortuna also played a big part with a solid defensive effort on his debut. Fortuna came on and took over the point guard duties from Banchero, freeing up the Italian to concentrate on getting points while he managed to restrict Wuysang to a quiet nine-point one-assist game.

The Beermen continued the high tempo into the final quarter and opened up a nine-point lead when Cawaling Jr. found the net from outside with four minutes left. The Warriors managed a last-gasp rally via Wuysang's three pointer with 14 seconds left on the clock to close gap to three points, but it was too little, too late as they fell to a 57-52 defeat at home.

Player of the game Banchero acknowledged his new colleague Fortuna's contribution after the game.

He said: "We were down needed this win badly and were only playing with one import [because of Freeman's injury], so I had to pick up for the team. Thankfully, Jeric [Fortuna] came in, so I was able to get free and go for the points.

"We knew it was going to be intense going up against the Warriors. It has always been the same since the championship last year - it has always been intense."

Coach Austria was delighted to come away with the victory in a match where both teams put up excellent defensive performances.

"Both teams played great defence today. I told my team that the Warriors play defence well and are winning because of it, so we have to play well too." he said, "We have to give credit to our players. They struggled at the start but showed big heart. Gabe Freeman was sidelined and injured. I don't want to put pressure on him, so the rest had to step up."

Both teams will next play at the ABL Hoops Fest in the following weekend.

The Warriors will first play Chang Thailand Slammers next Friday before facing the Westports Malaysia Dragons on Saturday. The Beermen's will first play the Jobstreet.com Singapore Slingers on Friday before going on to face hosts Saigon Heat on Saturday.

Quarter scoring: Q1(13-10) Q2(12-9) Q3(12-22) Q4(15-16) 

Full-Time: Warriors 52-57 Beermen

Warriors: Daniels - 16pts 16reb; Thomas - 11pts,14reb; Wuysang - 9pts

Beermen: Banchero - 19pts; Cawaling Jr. - 16pts; Williams - 11pts, 8reb

ABL: Fixtures, Standings and Results.

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