Updated 11:49 AM PHT Mon, January 9, 2017
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The San Miguel Beermen consolidated their spot on top of the standings after battling past Barangay Ginebra, 72-70, in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup on Sunday evening at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Alex Cabagnot led the way for the Beermen with 16 markers, while Ronald Tubid added 12 of his own.
It was a low-scoring affair between two of the more popular ball clubs in the league, with San Miguel going into the halftime break with a 32-31 advantage.
The Beermen finally broke loose in the third frame by going on an 11-3 run that would give them a 43-46 cushion with 6:38 left before the final quarter.
Sol Mercado eventually got the Gin Kings back on level terms with a layup to make it 53-apiece, but San Miguel would not be quelled.
The Beermen muscled their way to erect a 72-62 lead to seemingly put the game to bed with 2:25 left on the clock.
But Ginebra refused to bow down as well, and went on a rally of their own to ensure that the game went into the last possession after fortuitous misses from Marcio Lassiter from the free throw line.
With 11 ticks left to play and with San Miguel with the 70-72 lead, LA Tenorio used a Japeth Aguilar screen from atop the three point area to hoist an uncontested floater inside the paint.
Unfortunately for Ginebra fans, Tenorio's shot was off the mark and it was San Miguel's Arwind Santos who came away with the rebound to secure the victory.
Aguilar paced Ginebra with 17 points.
After the game, San Miguel coach Leo Austria was thankful that Ginebra's last gasp attempt failed to find the bottom of the net.
"We're lucky sa last shot kasi hindi pumasok kay Tenorio," Austria admitted. "They (San Miguel) refused to lose, ang mga players gusto talaga nila manalo."
The victory sees San Miguel at the summit of the standings with a 7-1 win-loss slate, while the Ginebra stumbled down to 3-4.