July 13, 2024

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Jericho Cruz’s firepower fuels SMB’s 3-2 lead over Magnolia in Game 5

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THREE! Jericho Cruz shoots a triple as he ignites San Miguel Beermen’s 108-98 victory over the Magnolia Hotshots to take Game 5 and lead the PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-seven title series, 3-2, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, February 11. He canned eight treys of his total 30 points in the game. PBA PHOTO

Jericho Cruz led the San Miguel Beermen to a crucial 108-98 victory over the Magnolia Hotshots in Game 5 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, February 11.

The win not only gave the Beermen a 3-2 series lead but also put them on the brink of securing their 29th championship.

The Beermen, who had faced adversity in the previous two games, found their rhythm again, breaking free from the defensive shackles imposed by the Hotshots.

 Cruz emerged as the hero of the night, delivering a career-playoff-high performance. He ignited the SMB offense with an astounding eight three-pointers, finishing the game with a total of 30 points.

San Miguel Beer, known for its offensive prowess, capitalized on their long-range shooting, hitting 37 percent of their three-point attempts and 41% overall. 

Simon Enciso, Don Trollano, and Bennie Boatwright joined Cruz in the shooting spree, combining for eight treys.

 The dominant inside presence of June Mar Fajardo, who recorded an 18-point and 15-rebound double-double, further fortified the Beermen’s attack.

The Hotshots, desperate to keep their championship hopes alive, faced an uphill battle. 

Despite a stellar performance from Tyler Bey, who contributed 34 points and eight rebounds, the Hotshots struggled from beyond the arc, making only 10 of their 26 three-point attempts. 

Jio Jalalon and Ian Sangalang provided support with 17 and 15 points, respectively, but Mark Barroca had a tough night, managing only four points on a 2-of-7 shooting clip. Paul Lee added 12 points off the bench.

Cruz’s dazzling display of shooting prowess, including a crucial eighth three-pointer that halted the Magnolia rally, showcased his ability to elevate his game in high-stakes situations. 

The former Adamson Falcon’s overall contribution went beyond scoring, as he also grabbed eight rebounds, dished out four assists, and recorded four steals.

As the series now shifts to Game 6, the Beermen stand on the cusp of reclaiming the Commissioner’s Cup crown they last won in 2019. 

The Hotshots, facing a must-win situation, need to secure two consecutive victories to salvage the series and end a six-year championship drought. 

The stage is set for a thrilling showdown, and basketball enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the outcome of the upcoming clash on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

The boxscores:

San Miguel 108 – Cruz 30, Boatwright 21, Fajardo 18, Enciso 15, Trollano 10, Perez 8, Lassiter 2, Tautuaa 2, Ross 2, Brondial 0.

Magnolia 98 – Bey 34, Jalalon 17, Sangalang 15, Lee 12, Dionisio 6, Abueva 5, Barroca 4, Dela Rosa 3, Laput 2, Reavis 0, Tratter 0.

Quarterscores: 25-18, 48-41, 76-68, 108-98.

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