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Red hot Cabagnot led San Miguel over idling Alaska

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By Miles Morales

Playoff-bound San Miguel ended the PBA Philippine Cup elimination round on a high note with a 114-96 rubbing of Alaska at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night.

Alex Cabagnot exploded for 31 points while Christian Standhardinger came through with 23 markers in his first game from his bout with an injury.

Arwind Santos, Von Pessumal, June Mar Fajardo and Chris Ross also had solid games as the Beermen bounced back from a sorry loss to the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters.

Cabagnot had a timely explosion with Terrence Romeo out on a minor illness.

The veteran guard carried much of the load in the first half before Ross, Fajardo, Santos, and Lassiter also hit their strides, joining forces to put SMB ahead, 79-71, going into the final canto.

Denied of a shot at the twice-to-beat quarterfinals bonus following their loss to Phoenix, the Beermen vented their frustrations on the Aces to improve to 7-4 and assure themselves of a top 5 finish.

Chris Banchero fired 22 markers to pace the Aces that also drew double-digit outputs from Sonny Thoss, Noy Baclao, Jeron Teng and Carl Bryan Cruz.

Already assured of a place in the Top 6, the Beermen are to figure in the pair of best-of-three quarters playoffs pitting the third seed against the 6th seed and the No. 4 versus the No. 5.

Meanwhile, the fight for the three remaining quarterfinals berths remained wide open as the Aces dropped to joint 7th with the NLEX Road Warriors at 4-6.

Others still in contention for the playoffs are Magnolia (5-5), NorthPort (3-6), Columbian Dyip (4-7) and Meralco (3-7).