ABL: Beermen do Slingers favour with win

The San Miguel Beermen earned their 15th straight victory with a 76-69 win over Sports Rev Thailand Slammers in the Philippines.

Val Acuna, San Miguel Beermen

Asi Taulava once again led the line for the Beermen with 15 points and 12 rebounds while Justin Williams added 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Beermen who are at the top of the ABL ladder with an 18-3 record.

Midway through the first quarter the tempo of the game picked up in the Beermen's favor. Benefiting from Slammers' turnovers, San Miguel were able to build an early lead. Asi had back to back layups after Thailand committed two straight turnovers which gave the Beermen a 15-8 lead. Jeric Fortuna closed the first quarter by splitting the double team and knocking down a runner plus the foul. Fortuna's three-point play put the Beermen in front, 22-12, after 10 minutes.

San Miguel overcame an 18 point performance from Chris Charles in the first half. With only Charles doing most of the scoring, the Slammers were not able to cut their deficit in the second quarter. San Miguel maintained their lead at 37-26 going into halftime after RJ Rizada split his free throw with 9 seconds left.

Thailand opened up the second half by forcing San Miguel to commit a turnover which Brannon converted with a layup. On the next possesion, Kannut Samerjai finds an open lane for a lay-up that shaved the Beermen's lead to 38-31. However, San Miguel responded immediately with a 13-6 run capped off by a high-arching layup from Paulo Hubalde over Charles and the Beermen held a 51-34 lead with 4:50 left in the third quarter. San Miguel's lead quickly went up to 55-35 on a lay-up from Rizada with 3:22 left in the period.

Val Acuna opened the fourth quarter by sinking two free throws and using the side-step for a layup to balloon the Beermen's lead to 65-42. A tip-in from Justin Williams maintained San Miguel's lead at 71-49 with 5:41 left in the game.

Down 22 points, Slammers' head coach Joe Bryant tried to rally his troops to make a late surge. Luis Gonzaga started the Slammers' late charge by knocking down a long jumper which was followed by a put back from Danai Kongkum and Charles, cutting their deficit to 16 points.

Thailand had a chance to get even closer after J. Williams was handed a technical foul. Unfortunately for the Slammers, they were only able to convert one of the four free throws that were given to them. Eventhough Thailand outscored San Miguel 27-15 in the final period, it was not enough to break the Beermen's win streak.

Charles led all scoring with 30 points and also grabbed 18 rebounds, followed by Darrius Brannon with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

With this loss, it will now go down to the Slammers' final game of the 2013 season next week to determine whether they will make it into the playoffs alongside the Beermen, Indonesia Warriors and Westports Malaysia Dragons.

Currently tied on fourth with the Jobstreet.com Singapore Slingers on a 7-14 record, the Slammers are ahead of the Slingers as they hold the advantage in the head to head series. However, as both teams still have one game left to play next week, the Slammers are still not yet guaranteed a spot in the playoffs.

Should the Slingers win their game against the Indonesia Warriors (Tuesday 14th May, Singapore Indoor Stadium, 8pm HKT tip) and the Slammers lose their game against the Heat (Wednesday 15th May, Nimibutr Stadium, 7pm local/8pm HKT tip), the Slammers will relinquish their playoffs ticket to the Slingers.

The Beermen on the other hand, have not just earned home court advantage for the entire post-season, they have also built an incredible momentum heading into the playoffs. Should the Slammers make it into the playoffs, they will be facing the streaking Beermen once again in a fight to make it into the ABL 2013 Finals.

The Beermen will carry their 15th game winning streak to MABA Stadium, Malaysia, to take on Westports Malaysia Dragons for next week's ABL Friday Basketball on FOX at 8pm local/HKT. The Slammers will finish their regular season on Wednesday May 15th when take on the Saigon Heat at Nimibutr Stadium, Thailand, for the 7pm local/8pm HKT tip-off.

Quarter scoring: Q1(22-12) Q2(16-15) Q3(23-15) Q4(15-27)

Full-Time: Beermen 76-69 Slammers

Beermen: Taulava - 15, J. Williams - 10, Avenido - 9, Fortuna - 8, B. Williams - 7, Hubalde - 7, Menk - 6, Rizada - 5, Acuna - 4, Cawaling - 3, Thiele - 2.

Slammers: Charles - 30, Brannon - 10, Gonzaga - 7, Kongkum - 6, Dasom - 5, Apiromvailchai - 3, Baguion - 2, Lertlaaokul - 2, Ghogar - 2, Samerjai - 2.



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