MANILA, Philippines–Looking dead in the water in the first half, San Miguel Beer rode the hot hands of import Shabazz Muhammad to carve out a 115-110 victory over Meralco Saturday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
The Beermen drew 57 points and 19 rebounds from the NBA veteran, ultimately razing a 26-point deficit to secure an outright spot in the playoffs.
“I’m thankful that we unleashed the potential of Shabazz,” said Leo Austria, whose charges finished the classification phase with a 7-4 record.
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“We had a very, very slow start and we didn’t have a direction. But after a lengthy talk with the governor, coaches the players woke up. They knew that it was going to be all about heart,” he went on.
June Mar Fajardo chipped in 15 points, Vic Manuel 13, while Marcio Lassiter 10 as the Beermen set their sights on the playoffs.
“It looked like a miracle. We thought it was impossible (to come back),” said Austria. “I just hope this momentum continues, because the next game is playoff time.”
Meralco got the goods from import Tony Bishop Jr., who had 29 points and 14 rebounds. Four more Bolts added double-digit scores but sputtered when it mattered most.
Norman Black and his wards will have a shot at redemption and could replicate the Beermen’s record when they play Phoenix Super LPG on Mar. 11.
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