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Tiebreaker Times


PBA: San Miguel too much for Converge, takes on Bay Area in semis

San Miguel overcame another fourth-quarter scare to frustrate the upset-seeking Converge, 120-107, to complete the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal picture via sweep, Saturday night at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.

In what’s becoming a recurring problem for the powerhouse, the Beermen saw their 27-point lead become just eight with 3:23 left, but survived big thanks to the timely hits of Simon Enciso, Devon Scott, and June Mar Fajardo.

The reigning conference champions have forged a best-of-5 encounter with heavy favorites Bay Area in the next round starting Wednesday and acting head coach Jorge Gallent hopes to address their issues entering the bout.

“We have to work hard. We can’t relax when we’re up big. We just have to take that out. We have to play smart basketball. We still have to be aggressive even if we’re up by double-digit numbers,” said the veteran mentor.

Terrence Romeo played his best game since coming back from a long layoff by top-scoring for San Miguel with 22 points, 12 of which he made in the second period to help his side establish a 61-44 lead at the half.

He also dished three assists, including one that led to a Fajardo basket to erect a 102-75 lead barely 40 seconds into the game’s final chapter.

It appeared to be a walk in the park for SMB but the crew lowered their guards down, allowing the FiberXers to cut the gap to just 109-101 behind Quincy Miller’s three-pointer with under four minutes left.

Enciso, however, doused cold water to the opposition’s rally through a triple of his own with 2:51 to go, and the towering tandem of Fajardo and Scott buckled down to work afterwards to take the Beermen home.

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“We played good in the first three quarters and a half, and then we just relaxed after the last six minutes of the ball game,” Gallent said. “We just stopped playing. When we went up by 27, we were running, we were sharing the ball.”

“We were taking advantage of what we had but after a while, we just stopped playing. And we decided to play basketball not to lose. That’s why they caught up. But nothing to take away from Converge,” he furthered.

Scott finished with 20 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists against eight turnovers. Fajardo flirted with a triple-double as he produced 18 points, 18 rebounds, and seven assists, together with two blocks.

Enciso supplied 16 points on four treys. Jericho Cruz made 15 points, while CJ Perez chipped in 12 markers and eight boards in the win.

Converge, meanwhile, was led by the 25 and 10 of Jeron Teng in the loss that ended what was once a promising campaign for the ball club.

Miller tallied 24 points and seven boards, Maverick Ahanmisi had 12, while RK Ilagan added 10 for the FiberXers, who finished the conference with four consecutive losses — a skid that dates back to the eliminations.

The Scores:

San Miguel 120 – Romeo 22, Scott 20, Fajardo 18, Enciso 16, Cruz 15, Perez 12, Lassiter 9, Brondial 8, Ross 0, Canete 0.

Converge 107 – Teng 25, Miller 24, Ahanmisi 12, Ilagan 10, Racal 8, Tratter 7, Melecio 7, Stockton 5, Arana 4, Bulanadi 3, Hill 2, Murrell 0.

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Quarterscores: 27-15, 61-44, 97-74, 120-107.

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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