SMB survives resilient Phoenix to clinch second win in a row

Vic Manuel drives past Sean Manganti’s defense (PBA Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The San Miguel Beermen survived the hot-shooting of the Phoenix Super LPG squad, 104-99, and clinched their second win in a row in the ongoing 2022 PBA Governor’s Cup.

Leading the Beermen attack is newly-acquired swingman Vic “The Muscle Man” Manuel who played his best game of the conference so far with 22 points and got the last laugh against his former team.

It was a nostalgic atmosphere at the Ynares Center as Manuel rocked the crowd with his signature one-handed sweeping hooks and took on the challenge of Phoenix’s import Dominique Sutton who was tasked to defend him in the post.

Just when the Super LPG squad made their fiery offensive run in the last seven minutes of the final canto, Manuel began to put the entire SMB on his back and dazzled everyone when he made it rain from the shaded lane with a series of isolation moves over the defense of Sutton and the rest of the defenders.

Aside from Manuel’s stellar outing, SMB’s veteran shooter Marcio Lassiter also came alive and torched Phoenix with his five made three-pointers on his way to 18 huge points.

“Talagang parang roller coaster kami dahil first two games namin, natalo kami and then nanalo kami tatlong sunod, natalo kami and then nanalo kami dalawang sunod,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria.

Phoenix came back in the game in the fourth as they cut SMB’s lead to just four led by Matthew Wright and Jason Perkins but Manuel’s timely clutch baskets fended off their hopes of tying the game in the last five minutes.

Orlando Johnson continued his steady play with SMB after chipping in 23 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.

“So far, so good naman because going to the resumption, we were so excited because our team is playing well in practice. You can see the body language of the players na they are determined to play good basketball,” Austria added.