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Basketball: San Miguel Beermen crowned ABL champions


The San Miguel Beermen were crowned the AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League champions following their 70-55 win over 2012 winners Indonesia Warriors in Mahaka Square, Jakarta.


The Beermen had been very vocal about their intentions from the start and head coach Leo Austria dedicated the win to his predecessor, the late Bobby Parks.


Asi Taulava led the champions with 19 points and Chris Banchero followed with 10 points, although that only told part of the role he has played throughout the finals series.


The Warriors looked uncomfortable in the beginning and struggled with their shots, managing just 23 per cent from the field. The Beermen, on the other hand, barely lost their stride from the past two games. A Justin Williams block in the first half started them on a 6-0 run capped with a Fortuna basket that put the Beermen up 14-10 going into the second quarter.


The Beermen continued to build their lead in the second quarter, Taulava and Banchero both going on scoring runs. The Beermen were 44 per cent from the field in the first half, although they struggled from the three, missing all seven attempts. They still managed to hold on to a six point lead 33-27 heading into the break.


Points were still hard to come by for the Warriors in the second half but they tried hard to make things difficult for the Beermen. Chris Daniels came in off the break with a couple of quick baskets that put the hosts in to within four points at 31-35.


However, Paulo Hubalde put a stop to that with a layup before he stole the ball off Thomas and fed it to Avenido for a three. Then a Taulava basket gave Beermen their first double-digit lead of the game at 49-38 with 2:20 remaining till the final quarter. The Beermen held on to that lead and finished the third period ahead, 53-43.


Despite a tough fight from Mario Wuysang, who finished on top of the leaderboard with 21 points, the Warriors soon found themselves down 17 points with half the quarter still remaining. With the Championship so close in their sights, the Beermen powered on and finished off the game 70-55 to lift the trophy.


The finals were a rematch between the two 2012 ABL finalists. The Warriors came into their second finals in a row after they swept their playoff series with the Westports Malaysia Dragons 3-0. The Beermen rode into the finals on a 20-1 game streak, their only loss coming from the first game of their playoff series against the Sports Rev Thailand Slammers.


The 2013 ABL Finals was a best of five series with a 2-2-1 format starting in the Beermen’s home court of Ynares Sports Arena, Pasig City.


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