Leo Avenido hit a pair of three-point plays in the clutch as the slow-starting San Miguel Beermen stamped their class on defending champion Chang Thailand Slammers, 68-59, in the third AirAsia Asean Basketball League yesterday at the Thai Japanese Association Gym in Bangkok.
Avenido scored six of his 14 points in the payoff period, his first three-point play putting SMB ahead at 59-58 with 5:04 left, and his second stretching their lead to 64-54 with 3:02 to go, as the Beermen stormed to their second straight win for 2-1 overall.
Import Darlon Johnson was a pillar of strength for the Beermen, scattering 21 markers, including 10 in a 13-2 second-quarter windup that enabled SMB to overhaul the Slammers’ 30-20 edge and enter the break ahead by a solitary point.
Johnson, who accounted for three of the Beermen’s eight triples, also grabbed eight rebounds and swatted away two of the Slammers’ shots as SMB joined idle AirAsia Phl Patriots at third (2-1) behind unbeaten Westports Malaysia Dragons (3-0) and Singapore Slingers (3-1).
Doug Thomson, playing his second game for the Beermen, finished with only 10 points and two rebounds but made significant contributions in other areas, such as blocks (three) and steals (two), capping his effort with a slam at the 1:06 mark that sealed it for the Beermen.
Imports Kenneth Walker (21 points, 11 rebounds) and Deandre Thomas (15 markers, seven boards), complemented by Filipino import Chester Tolomia (11 points), led the way for the slumping Slammers, who have lost their last three assignments after hurdling their maiden game this season.
Making the most out of the homecourt advantage, the Slammers jumped the gun on the Beermen and raced to a 10-point bubble halfway through the second, mostly behind the exploits of Thomas.
But Johnson ignited an SMB fightback that brought them back into the game, and from thereon, the Beermen sustained control despite the distractions put up by the loud Slammers supporters.
San Miguel 68 – Johnson 21, Avenido 14, Thomson 10, Fernandez 9, Rizada 5, Fajardo 3, Baguion 3, Cabatu 3, Luanzon 0, Mangahas 0, Gonzales 0.
Slammers 59 – Walker 21, Thomas 15, Tolomia 11, Wattana 5, Attaporn 4, Darongpan 3, Teerayat 0, Supachai 0, Mana 0, Ramsey 0.
Quarterscores: 15-19, 33-32, 51-48, 68-59.