SMB WINS SANS SHORT-FUSED ART LONG

MANILA, March 29, 2004
 
(STAR)
By Nelson Beltran - San Miguelís local players went to work with import Art Long having another temperamental outburst as the Beermen kept their searing run in the Gran Matador PBA Fiesta Conference with a 94-84 whipping of the Sta. Lucia Realtors last night at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Beermen made a decisive run with Long on the bench at the start of the fourth quarter, wiping out a 61-68 deficit at the end of the third period in the contest marred by a near free-for-all on the hallway leading to the dugouts at halftime.

Long triggered the commotion as he attempted to attack Marlou Aquino. Berated by the other members of the Sta. Lucia team, the hulking San Miguel import, who had had other temperamental eruptions in the past, only became wilder even in front of PBA board chairman Buddy Encarnado.

Timely intervention of his teammates kept Long from harming anybody in the incident. Still, Long is expected to be summoned by the Commissionerís Office today.

San Miguel coach Jong Uichico thought Long had his outburst in frustration on the way the team played early on.

"Itís not because of the other team. Itís because the team was taking things for granted. Because of what they have achieved so far, probably they felt things are getting easier. But 6-0 (win-loss card) doesnít get you anywhere. Thatís what frustrated Art," said Uichico.

"The good thing was that our all-Filipino (team in the fourth quarter) got their act together and worked harder," Uichico added.

Danny Seigle, who has just returned to active duty after recovering from an injury, had his breakout game, anchoring the Beermenís charge in the fourth quarter that gave the team its win No. 7 in the PBA transition tourney.

Seigle made nine of his 13 points in a crucial 24-7 run the Beermen used to turn the game around in the first seven minutes of the payoff quarter.

Early ouster by Derrick Brown on a sore groin he suffered in a collision with Nic Belasco with five minutes left to play hastened the Realtorsí downfall.

Taken out by coach Uichico with 23 seconds left in the third period, Long checked back in with only 4:53 left in the game and the Beermen already in control at 83-75.

But though playing only 37 minutes, Long came up with huge numbers with 23 points, 20 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks.

Shell, playing under new coach Leo Austria, got its first back-to-back wins in nearly a year as the Turbochargers got back at the Barangay Ginebra Kings, 102-98, in the nightcap.

Beaten by the Kings, 90-81, in their first meeting in the tournament opener, the Turbochargers got even despite the loss of Ronald Tubid and Chris Calaguio on injuries. Shell tied Ginebra at 3-5.

Seigle thought Long has matured a lot that he can hold his temper till the end of his stint in the tournament.

"Heís ready. He knows that the other teams are gonna resort to that (hard fouls) because nobody can stop him," said Seigle.

With Marlou Aquino doing a good job on Long in the second quarter, Sta. Lucia shook off a shaky start and came within a basket, 35-37, at halftime.

Then, Brown shifted his game into higher gear in the third period, rifling in 19 points in the quarter as the Realtors sat on a 68-61 cushion going into the final 12 minutes of play.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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