Terrence Romeo starred as San Miguel fended off Barangay Ginebra in a clash of league giants, 111-102, in the 2021 Honda PBA Philippine Cup, Friday night at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The 29-year-old finished with a conference-high 29 points, including nine of the Beermen’s 11 points in the final 1:57 to withstand the threat imposed by the reigning champs, who closed to within three after being down 19 early.
The eight-year pro completed a four-point play right after Stanley Pringle drew the Gin Kings that near, before stealing the ball for a breakaway lay-up to give his side a comfortable 106-97 advantage with 1:45 remaining.
Ginebra, though, still tried to inch closer behind LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar, but Romeo was fouled while taking another outside shot with 34.3 seconds left. He went on to sink all free throws to settle the final count.
Romeo shot 52-percent from the field, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc as he became the 44th player to reach 500 career treys.
The three-point shot was indeed key for SMB in the victory as they shot a total of 18 en route to following up their big win versus TNT last Wednesday.
Their win, though, also boded well for the 7-1 Tropang Giga as last year’s runners-up became the first team to qualify for the quarterfinals.
“We’re so lucky because our team is really solid and then in practice, they keep on working hard especially the key players. They know what’s at stake in this tournament,” said head coach Leo Austria as his side improved to 5-2.
Marcio Lassiter also made his presence felt in the win with 19 points on five threes. Arwind Santos made 15 points, while CJ Perez had 14.
Chris Ross supplied 13 points on the night that he finally cracked the league’s top five all-time steals leaders to surpass Dindo Pumaren, He had four steals, together with his four assists and three rebounds.
June Mar Fajardo chimed in 10 markers and 10 boards as a total of six Beermen finished in double figures in the win.
Meanwhile, the Barangay absorbed their fourth loss, failing to carry the momentum they had in their conquest of Rain or Shine two nights ago.
Tenorio finished with 19 points and a game-high 11 assists as the defeat dampened his historic feat, where he dislodged multi-time champion and current Ginebra assistant Olsen Racela at 10th in the all-time assists list.
Christian Standhardinger made 18 points. Pringle had 16 points, while Aguilar and Scottie Thompson had 15 and 13 markers, respectively, with eight boards apiece as the Gin Kings dropped to 3-4 in the standings.
Both teams will return to action in a triple-header Sunday on September 12. San Miguel opens the games as it meets Rain or Shine at 2:00 p.m., and Ginebra plays right after versus TNT at 4:35 p.m.
San Miguel 111 — Romeo 29, Lassiter 19, Santos 15, Perez 14, Ross 13, Fajardo 10, Tautuaa 8, Pessumal 3, Gotladera 0.
Ginebra 102 — Tenorio 19, Standhardinger 18, Pringle 16, Aguilar 15, Thompson 13, Tolentino 8, Caperal 8, Mariano 3, Devance 2, Ayaay 0, Dillinger 0.
Quarterscores: 28-22, 56-48, 82–74, 111-102