San Miguel took care of business by maximizing its win-once incentive against Converge, 121-105, to book the first ticket to the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals, Sunday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Cam Clark led the way with 40 points and 13 rebounds, scoring 16 in the third quarter alone as he led the Beermen’s 37-point explosion to seize control of the game for good after trailing by as much as five in the first half.
Now they shift their focus to the next phase, where they face either reigning champs Ginebra or NLEX in a best-of-five affair starting next week.
“Nothing comes easy now,” said coach Jorge Gallent. “We have a hard time against Converge and we expect to have a hard time in the semis.”
CJ Perez supplied his own double-double of 26 points and 12 rebounds, while Vic Manuel went a perfect 9-for-9 for 20 as SMB once again used a balanced attack to knock out the FiberXers for the second conference in a row.
It could be remembered that the perennial contenders eliminated the young ball club in the 2022 Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals via sweep (2-0).
Now, not only did they continue their mastery of Converge but the crew also wasted the solid performance of new import Tom Vodanovich.
Finally brought in to replace Jamaal Franklin, the Kiwi forward finished with 39 points and 10 rebounds, including 23 and 7 in the first half alone to help his side establish a slim 58-57 lead entering the break.
Then again, the New Zealand men’s team stalwart could only do so much as the Beermen began the onslaught, leaving them overwhelmed.
Maverick Ahanmisi supplied 18 points on 19 shots, Justin Arana made 14, while Alec Stockton and the returning Aljun Melecio added 12 and 11, respectively.
San Miguel 121 – Clark 40, Perez 26, Manuel 20, Cruz 12, Tautuaa 8, Lassiter 7, Enciso 6, Ross 2, Brondial 0, Bulanadi 0.
Converge 105 – Vodanovich 39, Ahanmisi 18, Arana 14, Stockton 12, Melecio 11, Teng 7, Balanza 4, Murrell 0, Tratter 0, Ebona 0, Tolomia 0, Racal 0.
Quarterscores: 34-27, 57-58, 94-82, 121-105.
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.