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Gem of a performance

In his second game in the Philippine Basketball Association, Diamond Stone had proven that he is a gem of an import for San Miguel Beer.

Stone, a last-minute replacement, doubled his production from his previous outing as he powered the Beermen to a 113-105 triumph over Rain or Shine in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Pinch-hitting from original choice Thomas Robinson, Stone atoned from his previous lackadaisical showing as he hit 17-of-29 shots from the field en route to a 42-point, 13-rebound masterpiece.
“I felt I have adjusted well,” Stone said.

“I thought coach was able to get me adjusted fast and ran some plays with me.”

San Miguel coach Leo Austria explained that Stone was the best import available sent to them and immediately, the National Basketball Association veteran was able to provide the inside-out game they badly need to complement six-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo.

Stone was a picture of consistency all game long, but he was more efficient in the second half, knocking down 23 points as Rain or Shine just couldn’t find the big men who could match up both against Stone and Fajardo.

Worse, Rain or Shine’s premier frontliner in veteran center Beau Belga was thrown out of the game for hitting Stone in the last 4:37 of the match and was called for a Flagrant Foul Penalty 2.
Emotions ran high during the exchanges as Stone was likewise slapped with a technical foul for confronting Belga and even Elasto Painters coach Yeng Guiao and San Miguel guard Chris Ross were assessed with a technical foul each.

But when the smoke cleared, it was the more experienced Beermen who were able to keep their composure in taking their first win after losing their opening game against Blackwater.

Fajardo contributed 21 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field, while pulling down eight boards.

CJ Perez chipped in 13 points as the Beermen produced 62 points inside the paint, 24 more than their rivals.

Steve Taylor Jr. flirted with a triple-double performance of 20 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists, but he only had three points the entire second half.

Rey Nambatac added 19 markers in his most productive output this conference as he was among seven players who finished in double figures for Rain or Shine.

The scores:
SAN MIGUEL (113) — Stone 42, Fajardo 21, Perez 13, Herndon 8, Cruz 7, Manuel 7, Enciso 6, Lassiter 6, Ross 3, Tautuaa 0.
RAIN OR SHINE (105) — Taylor 20, Nambatac 19, Santillan 15, Mamuyac 13, Asistio 11, Caracut 11, Ponferada 10, Belga 3, Demusis 3, Norwood 0.
QUARTERS: 29-24, 61-59, 85-85, 115-105.

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