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SMB, GINEBRA WIN FIRST OF BEST-OF-3 GAMES

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San Miguel Beer (SMB) and Barangay Ginebra demolished their respective opponents to win Game 1 of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals Wednesday, December 7, at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

SMB CJ Perez steps up

The Beermen, who paced by as much as 31 points, crushed past tormentor Converge, 114-96, behind CJ Perez who led a balanced attack with four SMB starters recording double digits. Perez scored 25 points in the Beermen’s victory after fending off the FiberXers’ fourth-quarter rally.

The win was Beermen’s sweet revenge over the FiberXers who hacked out a 106-102 victory over them in their October 21 elimination round encounter.

Devon Scott contributes to SMB

Devon Scott chipped in 23 markers, 12 rebounds, and five assists while June Mar Fajardo, absent in that first meeting due to injury, accounted for 19 points on top of 16 rebounds and three steals.

Deputy coach Jorge Gallent said, “It’s just the gelling of the team. The best part about it is everybody’s healthy now, everybody’s contributing, everybody’s doing their job.”

“It’s so nice to have a healthy team,” he said, adding: “Now we’re healthy and the gelling is there. We’ve been doing a great job sharing the ball and going to the right places.”

Marcio Lassiter added 11 points while Simon Enciso made eight baskets and a career-high-tying 10 assists before he was ejected for his second technical foul with barely seven minutes left in the action.

Converge tried to get back in the game when Quincy Miller found his scoring rhythm and Aljun Melecio’s triple pulled them, 87-98, midway through the fourth quarter.

But Perez, Scott, and Fajardo combined efforts for a 14-5 counter that practically sealed the game, 112-92, only 2:24 left.

For Converge to keep the game interesting despite trailing behind, 52-83, is something that SMB should not be complacent about.

Gallent said they would have to watch their Game 1 video and look at what’s happening in the fourth quarter.

Quincy Miller, who was limited to just nine points in the first half, erupted with 41 points and 13 rebounds for the FiberXers.

Justin Brownlee time

Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra Kings lived up to their billing, trouncing the NorthPort Batang Pier, 118-102, in Game 1 of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-three showdown.

Justin Brownlee continued his dominance, sizzling with 39 points, eight boards, and seven assists as the Ginebra frontman sent the Kings within a win of the semifinals.

However, Brownlee attributed the win to their team effort, saying, “We pride ourselves playing together. We did a good job pulling a good team effort.”

And Ginebra also scored 43 bench points against NorthPort’s 26.

Coach Tim Cone said that they are looking forward to these numbers.

“It’s how much we’re sharing the ball. That’s what we always try to do,” the veteran coach said.

The third-seed Kings are expected to wrap up the series on Saturday also at PhilSports.

Tenorio (1,174)  fired four triples to replace Ronnie Magsanoc (1,171) in the fourth overall of the all-time list and he is likely to surpass James Yap (1,178) at No. 3.

Brownlee went 16-of-24 from the field, five of eight from the arc as teammates Stanley Pringle, Jamie Malonzo, LA Tenorio, and Scottie Thompson also figured in double-digit performances.

Pringle and Malonzo combined for 29 markers, 11 boards, and seven assists off the bench while Tenorio and Thompson put in 23 points, seven rebounds, and 10 dish-offs.

Prince Ibeh accounted for 18 points and 15 boards.

The Box Score:

San Miguel 114 – Perez 25, Scott 23, Fajardo 19, Romeo 13, Lassiter 11, Enciso 8, Tautuaa 6, Ross 5, Cruz 4, Brondial 0.

Converge 96 – Miller 41, Melecio 11, Arana 11, Tratter 10, Ahanmisi 7, Teng 5, DiGregorio 5, Ilagan 4, Stockton 2, Bulanadi 0, Tolomia 0, Racal 0, Ambohot 0.

Quarters: 21-13, 55-32, 88-65, 114-96

Barangay Ginebra 118 – Brownlee 39, Pringle 16, Malonzo 13, Tenorio 12, Thompson 11, Gray 9, J. Aguilar 7, Mariano 6, Standhardinger 5.

NorthPort 102 – Tolentino 29, Bolick 21, Ibeh 18, Ferrer 15, Sumang 9, Navarro 8, Ayaay 2, Chan 0, Calma 0, Balanza 0.

Quarters: 29-24, 56-50, 89-74, 118-102.

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