July 11, 2024

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San Miguel Beer opens PBA PH Cup bid with a 109-97 win vs Rain or Shine

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OPENING WIN. San Miguel Beermen secures a 109-97 win over Rain or Shine to open its PBA Philippine Cup campaign on a high note at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday, March 19, 2024. PBA PHOTO

San Miguel Beer delivered a crushing blow to Rain or Shine, securing a resounding 109-97 victory on Friday, March 15, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. This triumph marked the opening salvo of San Miguel’s PBA Philippine Cup campaign, propelling them to a promising start in the highly anticipated tournament.

Despite the prolonged hiatus following their triumphant Commissioner’s Cup conquest last month, San Miguel Beer exhibited little signs of rust as they stormed into the match with unwavering focus and intensity. 

Seizing control of the game early in the second period, the Beermen left no room for doubt as they systematically dismantled any attempts at a comeback by the Elasto Painters.

Leading the charge for San Miguel Beer was Jericho Cruz, whose stellar performance saw him notch an impressive 20 points. Joining him in the offensive onslaught were standout players Marcio Lassiter, Don Trollano, June Mar Fajardo, and Terrence Romeo, each contributing at least 13 points to propel their team to an imposing 20-point lead.

Reflecting on his team’s exceptional display, winning coach Jorge Gallent expressed his satisfaction with their fiery performance, citing their relentless dedication and focus during recent practice sessions. He said the Beermen were really intense in the last four or five practices, bringing the intensity to the game.

Gallent said the players were all locked in, considering that it was their first game in the conference. He added it was good to start on a winning note, praising the Beermen for playing hard to win.

Setting the tempo for San Miguel Beer was Marcio Lassiter, whose impressive shooting prowess saw him drain four of his five three-pointers in the first half, setting the stage for an electrifying offensive display. Despite his recent calf injury, June Mar Fajardo showcased remarkable resilience, pulling down 10 rebounds to bolster his team’s dominance on the court.

Despite a valiant effort by Rain or Shine, led by Leonard Santillan’s career-high 31 points and 14 rebounds, the team faltered under the relentless pressure exerted by San Miguel Beer. Beau Belga and Jhonard Clarito contributed 18 points each, but their efforts were ultimately overshadowed by the team’s inconsistent performance and spotty free-throw shooting.

Rain or Shine displayed commendable resilience, mounting a gallant stand throughout the game. Despite playing small ball for the majority of the match due to Keith Datu’s absence, the team showcased unwavering determination, momentarily narrowing the gap with an early lead and a late surge.

However, San Miguel Beer’s dominance proved insurmountable, as they swiftly quashed any hopes of a comeback with a decisive 11-2 counter led by June Mar Fajardo, sealing their victory with ample time to spare.

Such was San Miguel Beer’s overwhelming superiority that they clinched victory with ease, even with CJ Perez contributing only seven points in his first 16 minutes of conference action. 

Adding to their triumph was the luxury of fielding Vic Manuel, who made a triumphant return to the court after undergoing knee surgery last November, further solidifying their status as formidable contenders in the tournament.

The boxscores: 

San Miguel 109 – Cruz 20, Lassiter 17, Trollano 16, Fajardo 15, Romeo 13, Tautuaa 7, Perez 7, Teng 6, Brondial 5, Enciso 3, Ross 0, Manuel 0

Rain or Shine 97 – Santillan 31, Belga 18, Clarito 18, Caracut 9, Mamuyac 9, Belo 5, Nocum 3, Nocum 2, Demusis 2, Concepcion 0, Norwood 0, Asistio 0

Quarterscores: 24-22, 56-45, 91-73, 109-97

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