The San Miguel Beermen remained undefeated in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup after another dominant showing against Rain or Shine, 111-98, on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
SMB, which is now 5-0 to open the conference, led by as many as 22 points in the fourth quarter before taking the foot off the gas pedal in the endgame.
Import Charles Rhodes tallied 26 points despite playing in only 23 foul-plagued minutes while getting plenty of help from up and down the San Miguel roster.
Gabby Espinas played a starring role from off the bench, tallying 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists while Arwind Santos chipped in 13 markers in a reserve role.
All of San Miguel’s starters – paced by Rhodes – reached double figures in scoring as well, with Alex Cabagnot posting 14 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
The Beermen’s import was limited to just 12 points in 14 minutes of play over the first three periods before dominating in the fourth quarter.
Rain or Shine trailed by just 10 points with 9:20 remaining in the game after some sharp three-point sniping from Jericho Cruz and Beau Belga to open the final period.
Rhodes, though, took care of two free throws and a basket before Cabagnot hit a technical free throw and Fajardo converted on a big three-point play. The SMB import then slammed the ball home to cap a 10-0 run that made it a 20-point game, 95-75.
The Elasto Painters responded with back-to-back baskets from Shawn Taggart and Gabe Norwood but three-pointer from Cabagnot made it a 19-point game again.
Rhodes then scored eight of the next 10 SMB points, with his final basket making it a 22-point game, 108-86, with 2:30 remaining.
Rain or Shine then rattled off 12 unanswered points to head into dying seconds, which saw some tensions rise after Marcio Lassiter drilled in a three-pointer near the end despite SMB having the game in hand.
That caught the ire of Norwood, who had words with some members from the San Miguel side after the buzzer.
Taggart had 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead Rain or Shine, which fell to 4-3.