SMB rallies to beat Star in season opener

MANILA — San Miguel pulled off a huge fourth quarter run to open its PBA Philippine Cup title defense with a 96-88 win against Star at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Day 1 of the 2017 season on Sunday night.

The Beermen came from behind in fashion, stifling the Hotshots in the final 12 minutes to start their quest for a third straight pennant in the season-opening conference.

San Miguel actually came from a dismal third quarter, giving up 36 Star points after the intermission and trailing, 75-79, entering the fourth quarter.

The Beermen, however, outscored the Hotshots, 21-9, in the payoff period to steal the win.

June Mar Fajardo led SMB with 25 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and one steal, while Alex Cabagnot added 22 points, two rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and one block.

Mark Barricade tallied 13 markers, one board, four dimes, and two swipes for the rebuilding Star.

Paul Lee struggled in his first game as a Hotshot, making only 4-of-13 from the field for 12 points while committing nine of their 30 total turnovers, although he had 10 rebounds, two assists, and a steal.

Jio Jalalon impressed in his pro debut, needing only five shots for his 11-point contribution for Star while also having five rebounds, one assist, and one steal.

Box Scores:

San Miguel 96-Fajardo 25, Cabagnot 22, Santos 17, Lassiter 11, Ross 7, Tubid 6, Espinas 5, Reyes 3, Garcia 1, Agovida 0

Star 88-Barroca 13, Lee 12, Jalalon 11, Maliksi 10, Simon 9, Sangalang 8, Pingris 7, Ramos 6, Melton 6, Reavis 2, Pascual 2, Brondial 2

Quarterscores: 26-24, 51-43, 75-79, 96-88 PNA-northboundasia.com