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Tiebreaker Times


PBA: San Miguel staves off Meralco, moves to cusp of Finals

The Adamson connection was in full effect as San Miguel staved off Meralco, 89-78, to move a step closer to returning to the PBA Philippine Cup Finals after a few years, Friday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

Jericho Cruz and Rodney Brondial were on the forefront of the Beermen’s second half surge on the way to the 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven affair, which has put them in a position to close it out in Game Six on Sunday.

“The momentum, the motivation, I think nasa amin ‘yun. But it’s up to us. This is a situation na kailangan hindi namin i-let go,” said coach Leo Austria.

The spitfire guard produced nine of his 17 points in the third quarter, where SMB limited the opposition to just 12 points to turn a 41-44 halftime deficit to a 67-56 advantage for its side entering the final 12 minutes.

Their lead rose to as high as 15 in the next frame but the Bolts rallied and cut it to just two, 78-76, behind Allein Maliksi’s triple with 3:07 to go.

That’s when Brondial came in. After a split by Cruz from the line, the 6-foot-5 bruiser scored the next five points — capped by a short baseline jumper — to give the Beermen an 84-76 lead with only 1:01 left in the game.

Those were his only points of the game. But he also finished with seven rebounds and a block in a turnover-less outing in 25 minutes.

“Everybody stepped up. Not only one player. They know what to do,” said Austria. “Nagkakaroon sila ng communication. They connected to each other.

“Sabi ko sa kanila pati mga coaching staff sinasabi, just enjoy the game, let’s run our game. And that’s what happened. And we were able to control it. We were not in a hurry,” the champion mentor added.

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CJ Perez top-scored for San Miguel with 25 points and nine rebounds. June Mar Fajardo registered 12 markers and 15 boards, as Simon Enciso added 10.

Meralco, on the other hand, leaned on the 24 points of Chris Newsome in the loss. Maliksi added 12 markers and seven caroms.

The Scores:

San Miguel 89 – Perez 24, Cruz 17, Fajardo 12, Tautuaa 9, Enciso 8, Manuel 6, Lassiter 5, Brondial 5, Ross 0, Herndon 0.

Meralco 78 – Newsome 24, Maliksi 12, Hodge 11, Quinto 11, Almazan 8, Black 6, Pascual 2, Banchero 2, Hugnatan 2, Jose 0, Baclao 0.

Quarterscores: 25-22, 41-44, 67-56, 89-78.

The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.

Written By

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

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