MANILA – Diamond Stone showed that he has quickly adapted to San Miguel's system, exploding for 42 points in a 113-105 victory against Rain Or Shine in their PBA Commissioner's Cup game on Sunday night at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
Stone was consistent all game long, going 17-for-29 from the field including 13-of-17 from the two-point land.
"Coach [Leo Austria] did a great job during this week after our first game of getting me adjusted--getting me to know the plays," said Stone, who also had 13 rebounds and three assists.
However, he got huge help from June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez in the fourth quarter as the Beermen stole the thunder from the Elasto Painters.
Fajardo added 21 points, eight rebounds, and two assists for SMB, which moved up to 1-1.
Steve Taylor flirted with a triple-double after tallying 20 points, 18 rebounds, and nine assists with one steal, but he was held to just three points in the second half as ROS fell to 2-2.
Tough send-off for Gavina
The defeat was not what the Elasto Painters envisioned as a fitting farewell to former head coach Chris Gavina.
The team announced later in the night that Gavina will be heading to Taiwan to coach the Taichung Suns in the T1 League.
Gavina was named Rain Or Shine's head coach for the 2021-22 season as well as the 2022 Philippine Cup.
Gavina was retained in the coaching staff even when Yeng Guiao returned to the team as the chief tactician.
In the second game, Ginebra put an end to Bay Area's early domination in the mid-season conference through a 111-93 blowout.
Although they entered halftime leading, 50-48, the Gin Kings turned things around in the third quarter, outscoring the Dragons, 35-18, to pull away for good.
Justin Brownlee erupted for 46 points on 17-of-26 shooting, 12 rebounds, three assists, and two steals for Ginebra, which has now won back-to-back games after a tough conference-opening loss.
Jamie Malonzo added 17 points, six rebounds, one assist, and one block, while Christian Standhardinger put up 11 markers, 10 boards, two dimes, and two swipes while successfully containing Andrew Nicholson in the second half.
Nicholson, who played for the first time for Bay Area, led the team with 28 points, but he was held to just two points in the second half after going toe-to-toe with Brownlee in terms of scoring in the first half. (PNA)