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PBA: Jericho Cruz catches fire vs Magnolia as San Miguel inches closer to Comm’s Cup

San Miguel moved a win away from the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup title following a 108-98 Game 5 win, Sunday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

Jericho Cruz starred with 30 points on eight treys, none bigger than his last from the corner with 51.9 seconds left to play as it doused cold water to a rally that saw the Hotshots get to within 99-96 after being down 14 early in the fourth.

Bennie Boatwright’s free throws plus breakaway buckets off steals by CJ Perez and Chris Ross sealed the victory, leaving the opposition in utter disappointment that some of them headed straight to the dugout before the final buzzer rang.

Now the proud franchise will look to clinch the championship, its second in four conferences if ever, in Game 6 on Wednesday, 7:30, still at the Big Dome.

2023-24-PBA-Commissioners-Cup-Finals-Game-5-Magnolia-vs-San-Miguel-Jericho-Cruz-1 PBA: Jericho Cruz catches fire vs Magnolia as San Miguel inches closer to Comm's Cup Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

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“It’s just about being confident and not being overconfident,” said coach Jorge Gallent. “In Games 3 and 4 we were overconfident. That’s what happened.”

Boatwright finished with 21 points, going a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line as he’s yet to find his old form from the field after going just 1-of-6 from deep. The 27-year-old also had six rebounds and four assists.

June Mar Fajardo came through with another double-double of 18 points and 15 rebounds as he defied the doctor’s order to rest his hurting calf.

Providing the surprise spark, meanwhile, was Simon Enciso, who went 5-of-9 from beyond the arc on the way to finishing with 15 points.

Don Trollano chipped in 10 markers for San Miguel, who’s 8-0 in the last 25 years when leading 3-2 in a PBA Finals, per stats chief Fidel Mangonon III.

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Wasted by the loss, on the other hand, was the effort of Tyler Bey, who finished with 34 points and eight rebounds to lead Magnolia.

Jio Jalalon tallied a 17-5-4 line. Ian Sangalang had 15 points while Paul Lee added 12 as the other locals tried to step up on a night veteran guard Mark Barroca got held to just four points on 2-of-7 shooting from the field.

The Scores:

San Miguel 108 – Cruz 30, Boatwright 21, Fajardo 18, Enciso 15, Trollano 10, Perez 8, Lassiter 2, Tautuaa 2, Ross 2, Brondial 0.

Magnolia 98 – Bey 34, Jalalon 17, Sangalang 15, Lee 12, Dionisio 6, Abueva 5, Barroca 4, Dela Rosa 3, Laput 2, Reavis 0, Tratter 0.

Quarterscores: 25-18, 48-41, 76-68, 108-98

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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