San Miguel notched its first win in the PBA On Tour by keeping NorthPort winless, 87-75, Saturday night at the Caloocan Sports Complex.
Jericho Cruz finished with a game-high 22 points, while Rodney Brondial flirted with a 20-20 outing with 18 markers and 21 boards. And the tried-and-tested combo helped the Beermen bounce back after losing to Phoenix last week.
The Adamson connection worked so well, most especially in the closing moments. Brondial helped force a turnover. That led to a Cruz bucket for an 87-71 lead with 1:11 left, effectively taking the wind out of the Batang Pier’s sails.
Terrence Romeo supplied 14 points, while Mo Tautuaa added 11 markers and six boards for SMB.
The Beermen were without stars June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, and CJ Perez, as well as guard Simon Enciso.
San Miguel (1-1) will next take on the debuting Barangay Ginebra on Sunday, June 4, 7:30 PM at the Ynares Arena in Antipolo.
Paul Zamar, meanwhile, finished with 20 points spiked with three triples to lead NorthPort, who absorbed its second loss in as many games.
Zamar tried to will his side back into the match as his trey cut what was once a 24-point deficit to just nine, 80-71, with 2:36 left to play. However, SMB responded with a 7-0 run – the last five of which came from Cruz – to dash their hopes.
MJ Ayaay backed him up with 18 points, including 14 in the second period alone. He led the Batang Pier’s uprising after a sluggish start to the match, which saw them stare at a 30-6 deficit early in the said period.
JM Calma added 14 points and 13 rebounds in the loss.
NorthPort will try to earn its first On Tour win on Friday, June 2, as it welcomes the TNT Tropang Giga, also at Ynares Antipolo.
San Miguel 87 – Cruz 22, Brondial 18, Romeo 14, Tautuaa 11, Herndon 7, Faundo 5, Bulanadi 6, Lee 2, Baclao 2, De Vera 0, Saldua 0.
NorthPort 75 – Zamar 20, Ayaay 18, Calma 14, Chan 5, Bauzon 5, Gabriel 4, Comboy 3, Santos 2, Taha 2, Yu 2, Caperal 0, Munzon 0, Balagasay 0, Olivario 0, Salado 0.
Quarterscores: 19-6, 39-34, 68-55, 87-75.