ABL: Beermen edge Dragons in epic

The San Miguel Beermen outlasted the Westports Malaysia Dragons 107-104 in an epic ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) game on Friday.

Justin Williams

The Beermen and the Dragons were already ensured spots for the Playoffs, but both teams treated Friday's clash at MABA Stadium, Malaysia like a championship game .

After three hours of back-forth action and exciting basketball, it was the Beermen who emerged victorious in the ABL's first ever triple overtime contest. In doing so, the Beermen also kept a 16-game win streak alive which they will take to the post-season.

Brian Williams had a big game with 22 points and 23 rebounds while Leo Avenido also contributed 22 points. Paulo Hubalde chipped in 18 points for the Beermen who are the number one seed in the playoffs with a record of 19-3.

The scoreline was neck and neck from the start. Following a tight first quarter, Marcus Hubbard threw down a thunderous slam that capped off a 14-5 run which gave the Dragons a 38-33 lead with four minutes left.

However the Beermen responded with their own 11-2 run, started by a two handed slam from B. Williams. JR Cawaling sank two free throws to end the run and the Beermen had a 44-40 lead heading into the locker room.

After a scoreless first half, Moala Tautuaa came alive as he sparked a 21-6 run in the third quarter. Tautuaa scored eight points during that stretch. Then Armon hit a three-point shot to give the Dragons their biggest lead in the game at 61-50 with 53 seconds left in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Beermen showed their winning mentality. Down by as many as 10 points with 2:40 left, San Miguel calmly fought their way back into the game. Starting with a three-point shot from Leo Avenido, the Beermen finished off the game on a 12-2 run. Down by 2 points with 24 seconds left, San Miguel's head coach Leo Austria drew a perfect play off the time-out. Hubalde found a cutting Avenido for a layup to tie the game at 79 all.

Gavin Edwards had a chance to win it for the Dragons, but his reverse layup with 3 seconds left did not go down and the score was deadlocked at 79 after regulation time.

John Ng converted a pair of free throws which gave the Dragons an 88-85 lead with 22 seconds left in the first overtime. With his team down by three, Avenido knocked down a clutch three-point shot to level the game at 88 which led to the game going into second overtime.

Despite players from both teams cramping up, neither the Beermen and Dragons were willing to give up the game. B. Williams opened up second overtime with a quick four points which was followed by a bank shot from Hubalde, giving the Beermen a 94-88 lead. But Tautuaa was able to tie the game at 95 after making a three-pointer and a two handed jam with 1:30 left. Down by 2 points with 12 seconds left, Edwards finds his way to the basket for a layup as both teams head into triple overtime tied at 100 apiece.

Tied at 104, Avenido dribbles past Armon and knocks down a running floater over Tautuaa to put the Beermen up by 2 points with one minute left. On the ensuing possession, Malaysia were unable to get a good shot and Armon was forced to shoot a long three-point shot with the shot clock running out. Hubalde split his charities with 2.4 seconds left to put the Beermen ahead for good.

Edwards led all scoring with 29 points and 14 rebounds while Armon finished with 27 points. Hubbard added 17 points and 14 rebounds, followed by Tautuaa who chipped in 13.

The Dragons close out their regular season on Sunday when they take on the Saigon Heat at Tan Binh Stadium, Vietnam for the 8PM HKT tip-off.

Then the ABL 2013 Playoffs kick off next week with the San Miguel Beermen hosting the Sports Rev Thailand Slammers at Ynares Sports Arena, Phillipines on the 23rd of May for the 8PM HKT tip-off. The Dragons will face the Indonesia Warriors just a day later on the 24th of May for the 8PM HKT tip-off at Mahaka Square, Indonesia.

Quarter scoring: Q1(24-24) Q2(16-20) Q3(21-20) Q4(18-25)
OT1: (11-11) OT2: (12-12) OT3: (4-7)

Full-Time: Dragons 104-107 Beermen

Dragons: Edwards - 29, Armon - 27, Hubbard - 17, Tautuaa - 13, Melton - 9, Ng - 7, Batumalai - 2.

Beermen: B. Williams - 22, Avenido - 22, Hubalde - 18, Acuna - 13, Taulava - 10, Rizada - 6, Menk - 5, Cawaling - 5,Fortuna - 4, J. Williams - 2 .

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