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Tiebreaker Times

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PBA: BPC leaders Perez, Fajardo lead way as San Miguel regains upper hand in semis


San Miguel staved off Meralco, 96-91, to take a 2-1 lead in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals, Sunday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

CJ Perez finished with a game-high 26 points, while June Mar Fajardo registered 21 points and 16 rebounds as the BPC race leaders joined hands to score the Beermen’s final eight points to finish the Bolts once and for all.

The perennial contenders will look to establish a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series in Game Four on Wednesday, August 10, at 3 p.m. still at the Big Dome.

“They know how to win crucial games. But we’re just lucky because Meralco is really a tough team to beat,” said coach Leo Austria. “Until the last minute, you cannot blink against this Meralco, because they are well-prepared.”

SMB already established a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter but Meralco cut the deficit to just four, 88-84, following Aaron Black’s perfect trip to the charity stripe with exactly two minutes remaining in the game.

Fajardo buckled down to work afterwards. He first scored from underneath then sank his free throws afterwards to inflate their lead, 92-84, with 1:11 to go.

Perez came in not long after, making both of his own free throws after Kyle Pascual’s own set to help out in applying the finishing touches.

“Buti na lang, naka-score ‘yung mga teammates ko. And then noong second half, medyo nakakuha ako ng bola, nakaka-offensive rebound ako, and then ayun, naka-score ako,” said Fajardo, who scored 10 in the fourth quarter.

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Jericho Cruz made 15 points, while Vic Manuel added 11 markers and seven rebounds in the win that saw San Miguel shoot 45.9-percent from the floor.

Meanwhile, Chris Newsome had 16 points, four rebounds, and six assists to lead Meralco, who failed to replicate its 99-88 win in Game Two last Friday.

Black provided 15 points and nine rebounds. Allein Maliksi tallied 15 points as well, while Cliff Hodge notched 13 and 12 in the loss.

The Scores:

San Miguel 96 – Perez 26, Fajardo 21, Cruz 15, Manuel 11, Ross 8, Tautuaa 8, Brondial 4, Lassiter 3, Enciso 0, Herndon 0.

Meralco 91 – Newsome 16, Maliksi 15, Black 15, Hodge 12, Jose 9, Banchero 8, Quinto 4, Almazan 4, Pasaol 2, Baclao 2.

Quarterscores: 25-24, 46-42, 71-66, 96-91

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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