BEERMEN STRETCH STREAK

MANILA, OCTOBER 13, 2003 (MALAYA) San Miguel Beer has plumbed the depths of the Samsung PBA Reinforced Conference. It's now time to scale the heights.

And that's exactly what the Beermen are currently doing, especially after a 75-78 rout of Alaska last night at the Araneta Coliseum that stretched their rise from the cellar of Group A.

Two days after securing its first back-to-back victory in four months, San Miguel elevated its game to nail down win No. 4 in 10 games to switch places with its victim and take over second spot.

"We just have to step up on our defense," said import Kwan Johnson, who scored 33 points and hauled down 13 rebounds. "All the guys in the team came up big tonight. We can't just let offense win for us."

Alaska dropped to 3-5 in the same group after the game where it was thoroughly beaten.

All because the Beermen applied a choking defense right in the first half despite despite drawing the same from coach Tim Cone's charges.

Halftime ended at 33-23 with San Miguel on top, but the lead ballooned to as high as 56-39 in the next 12 minutes.

The last time the Beermen won two games in a row was way back in the All-Filipino Cup, when they defeated FedEx on May 28 after previously beating Talk N' Text.

Ever since Johnson replaced Shea Seals, the Beermen have recorded a 3-1 (win-loss) slate - a turnaround so huge after San Miguel lost its first five games in the conference.

"Right now, the morale of the players is high," said SMB coach Jong Uichico. "Everybody's confident. And Kwan is the prime reason for that."


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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