MANILA,  May 2, 2004
By Joey Villar - Purefoods found the way to take San Miguel Beer import Art Long out of the equation. But the Hotdogs just couldnít find the way to stop the rest of the Beermen.

Leaning on a solid local crew, San Miguel bucked the ejection of its import as it smashed Purefoods, 106-97, last night, stretched its win streak to four and strengthened its hold of the solo lead in the Gran Matador PBA Fiesta Conference at the Araneta Coliseum.

Long blew his top at Purefoods import Tyrone Washington, who replaced Eddie Elisma a few days back, and was thrown out after being assessed a second tecnical foul (actually his eighth this conference) with still 9.05 minutes left in the third quarter.

He finished with 16 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal and could be fined, penalized and reprimanded once again by commissioner Noli Eala for unsportsmanlike behavior.

But the Beermen hardly missed the services of Long as the group of Dondon Hontiveros, Nic Belasco, Danny Ildefonso and Dorian Pena picked up the slack. They combined in leading SMB to its 12th win against just a single loss.

"Itís a good thing the locals didnít lose their composure and poise. They didnít lose belief that they can still win this game even without Art Long," said San Miguel coach Jonh Uichico, who also had one of the four technical fouls called in the game.

Washington, picked 44th by the Houston Rockets in the 1999 NBA Draft ahead of Alaskaís Galen Young and the San Antonio Spursí Manu Ginobili, sizzled with 17 points in the first half alone and helped keep the Hotdogs within striking distance.

However, Washington, who was measured at 6í7 3/4", failed to pounce on the absence of his SMB counterpart as he scored only six points the rest of the way to finish with 23 points on top of just three rebounds and a block.

Coach Ryan Gregorio and his Hotdogs also lost to an importless Red Bull in overtime, 90-94, last April 14.

With San Miguel ahead, 59-50, Long was floored by Kerby Raymundo underneath. And while the SMB import prepared to take his charities, Washington made faces at him. Long did not like it.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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