Photo from PBA

San Miguel Beer continued the frustration of its former star Arwind Santos and NorthPort after holding on for a 91-88 victory Sunday, Dec. 12 in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

The Beermen led by 27 points but had to endure a late comeback bid by the Batang Pier to secure their first win after back-to-back defeats to begin the season-ending conference.

Robert Bolick and Jamie Malonzo had their chances of sending the game into overtime but both players missed wide-open threes before the buzzer, sending the Batang Pier to their third consecutive setback.

SMB won at the expense of Santos, whose 12-year association with the team ended when he was dealt to NorthPort for Vic Manuel last month.

“We’re so lucky that we’re able to win against NorthPort despite a scary game for us,” said Austria. “We were leading by 27 points at kamuntikan pang mag-extension, and that’s for me a no-no and as a coach it really hurts.

“Still, the players didn’t want to give up and a win is a win and this will give us some confidence going into the next game,” added Austria.

Import Brandon Brown had 24 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and two steals while June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez added 15 points apiece for the Beermen.

San Miguel raced to a 8-0 start against a NorthPort side playing without injured import Cameron Forte before ending the first period with a 26-9 advantage.

SMB sustained the wide gap in the second quarter before extending it to a high of 27 points, 62-35, on Marcio Lassiter’s triple with 7:27 to go in the third.

It looked like the game was already over by then but Santos and Bolick slowly put NorthPort back to single digits in the fourth.

Bolick cut the deficit to 91-88, 27 seconds left, then saw Perez missed a wide-open layup, giving the Batang Pier a chance to tie it.

But Bolick, who missed two threes in a loss to Alaska on opening day, muffed a three-point attempt before Malonzo failed to convert his own attempt from beyond the arc.

Bolick, with 24 points, five rebounds and eight assists, could only keep his head down after the game as NorthPort was handed another heartbreaking defeat.

Santos had 23 points, 11 rebounds and two steals against his former club while Malonzo posted 22 points and 13 rebounds.

The scores:

SAN MIGUEL 91 — Brown 24, Perez 15, Fajardo 15, Lassiter 12, Manuel 10, Pessumal 9, Romeo 6, Enciso 0, Tautuaa 0.

NORTHPORT 88 — Bolick 24, Santos 23, Malonzo 22, Slaughter 10, Taha 4, Ferrer 2, Grey 2, Balanza 1, Elorde 0, Doliguez 0, Rike 0. 

Quarters: 26-9, 49-31, 72-58, 91-88.

Source: Manila Bulletin (