The San Miguel Beermen (SMB) and TNT Tropang Giga are both eyeing their third wins after grabbing 2-1 lead following their victories over the Meralco Bolts and Magnolia Hotshots in their respective PBA Philippine Cup Final Four playoffs, respectively, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday, August 7.
SMB eked out a 96-91 win over the Meralco Bolts in Game 3.
Beermen CJ Perez and June Mar Fajardo, both frontrunners for the best player of the conference (BPC) honors, combined forces to secure the much-needed win for their team to bounce back from a 99-88 loss in Game 2.
Perez took charge, hitting 26 points, including four three-pointers while Fajardo pulled off a double-double performance, sinking 21 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. Yet the Beermen played tough throughout the game, thwarting the Bolts’ rally attempts.
Beermen head coach
Beermen head coach Leo Austria said it was tough to beat the Bolts, saying, “Napakahirap silang talunin. You can’t blink as they’re well prepared and they know what to do (They are difficult to beat. You can’t blink as they’re well prepared and know what to do). We’re lucky we have big men who can pound them at the post.”
Fajardo, for his part, said he had to play decoy in the first half. He said,”Pasa-pasa muna ako at hinayaan ko muna umiskor teammates ko. Sa second half, nakakuha na ako ng bola sa teammates ko at saka offensive rebounds (I passed first and let my teammates score. In the second half, I got the ball from my teammates and offensive rebounds).”
Whenever Fajardo got a ball possession, he would then find two to three Bolts players defending him, which Austria said was impossible to go up against.
Beermen Vic Manuel and Jericho Cruz also came out big to lift the team’s hard-fought victory. Manuel canned 11 markers and took seven boards while Cruz chipped in 15 baskets and two boards.
Austria’s words are eying their win as Game 4 gets underway on Wednesday, August 10, at the Big Dome.
Chris Newsome made 16 points for the Bolts and teammate Cliff Hodge added 12 markers on top of his 13 rebounds.
Jayson Castro game-winner shot
Meanwhile, Jayson Castro buried a three-point game-winner with barely three seconds left to lift TNT’s 93-92 victory over the Magnolia Hotshots.
TNT’s triumph came on the heels of their 88-92 Game 2 defeat on August 5.
Tropang Giga coach Chot Reyes later said he instructed the play during a huddle with only 17 seconds remaining in the game.
He said, “We spoke briefly about our defense, but we focused on our offense, what we were going to do after. Because whatever happens, whether Magnolia scores or not, we had to score. That was run exactly the way we wanted, quick inbound to Jayson and the bigs giving him the screen.”
Castro canned 16 markers with six assists to complement Poy Erram’s 22 points and eight boards. Glen Khobuntin contributed 15 baskets and nine rebounds while Mikey Williams had 10.
Abueva led the scoring for Magnolia with 18 points on top of five rebounds and six assists while Sangalang added 17 points and nine boards. Barroca finished with 15 baskets as Aris Dionisio added 10 points.
San Miguel 96 – Perez 26, Fajardo 21, Cruz 15, Manuel 11, Ross 8, Tautuaa 8, Brondial 4, Lassiter 3, Enciso 0, Herndon 0.
Meralco 91 – Newsome 16, Maliksi 15, Black 15, Hodge 12, Jose 9, Banchero 8, Quinto 4, Almazan 4, Pasaol 2, Baclao 2.
Quarters: 25-24, 46-42, 71-66, 96-91
TNT 93 -Erram 22, M.Williams 15, Castro 16, Khobuntin 15, Rosario 8, Pogoy 7, K.Williams 7, Montalbo 3, Reyes 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.
Magnolia 92 -Abueva 18, Sangalang 17, Barroca 15, Dionisio 10, Dela Rosa 9, Lee 9, Wong 6, Jalalon 4, Corpuz 2, Laput 2, Escoto 0.
Quarters: 18-24, 47-41, 66-73, 93-92