June 15, 2024

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San Miguel Beermen inch closer to PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals return

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ONE WIN AWAY. The San Miguel Beermen subdued Barangay Ginebra, beating the Gin Kings, 106-96, in Game 2 of their best-of-five PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals held at the MOA Arena in Pasay City on Friday, January 26, 2024. The Beermen lead, 2-0. PBA PHOTO

San Miguel Beer moved a step closer to a PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals return, securing a 106-96 triumph over Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in Game 2 of their race-to-three semifinals showdown at the MOA Arena in Pasay City on Friday, January 26, 2024.

Bennie Boatwright, who had a subdued performance with 23 points in Game 1, bounced back with an explosive 38-point performance, leading the Beermen to a follow-up victory after their narrow 92-90 escape in the previous game. 

CJ Perez, Marcio Lassiter, and June Mar Fajardo also delivered stellar performances, playing pivotal roles in repelling the Kings’ challenge.

Boatwright, Perez, Lassiter, Fajardo, and Chris Ross formed a formidable unit, often referred to as the “Death Squad,” delivering crucial plays to put Ginebra’s title defense in jeopardy.

Lassiter downplayed the significance of a specific combination, emphasizing the strength of the entire team. He said theirs is a strong team with over 10 capable guys.

It could be anyone’s night for us,”  he said.

Coach Jorge Gallent echoed Lassiter’s sentiment, stating, that there’s the  ‘Death 15,’ since every Beermen player is good here. 

In the tightly contested game, with Ginebra holding a one-point edge at 87-86, Boatwright, Lassiter, Fajardo, and Perez took turns delivering clutch hits, leading the Beermen to a decisive 19-10 closing run.

Fajardo contributed a double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds, while Perez added 17 points and seven boards. Lassiter provided valuable support with 16 points, three rebounds, and two assists.

For Ginebra, Jamie Malonzo displayed an impressive shooting display with six triples and a team-high 27 points. 

Tony Bishop contributed 25 points and nine rebounds, while Christian Standhardinger added nine points and 14 rebounds. Maverick Ahanmisi chipped in 13 markers.

With a 2-0 series lead, San Miguel Beer now stands on the verge of securing a spot in the best-of-seven finals. 

Ginebra faces a challenging task, needing to win three consecutive games to keep their championship hopes alive in the series

The boxscores:

San Miguel 106 – Boatwright 38, Perez 17, Fajardo 17, Lassiter 16, Teng 7, Trollano 5, Cruz 4, Tautuaa 2, Brondial 0, Ross 0, Enciso 0.

Ginebra 96 – Malonzo 27, Bishop 25, Ahanmisi 13, Thompson 9, Standhardinger 9, Pringle 6, Pinto 5, J.Aguilar 2, Tenorio 0.

Quarterscores: 23-21, 43-46, 76-74, 106-96

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