San Miguel signified its intentions of staying in Pampanga longer by beating TNT, 103-90, in Game Six of the 2021 Honda PBA Philippine Cup semifinals, Friday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor.
The Beermen actually yielded the game’s first basket, but it would be the only time that they would trail. They responded with a 12-2 run, setting the tone for the one-sided affair that led to the fourth consecutive rout of the series.
SMB has pushed the best-of-seven affair to the distance. The deciding match will be on Sunday, October 17, at 4:35 p.m.
“Experience is number one in this kind of situation. We know what to do, and we know how to lose and how to win the game,” said coach Leo Austria.
Mo Tautuaa top-scored for San Miguel with 20 points, marking his second 20-point performance this conference after having 25 in Game Four last Sunday. The 6-foot-8 bruiser also had five rebounds in over 28 minutes.
Marcio Lassiter produced 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc, three of which he made to help out in their 14-4 start into the match.
Terrence Romeo supplied 16 points and six assists. Arwind Santos made 13 points and 10 rebounds, as reigning six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo had 11 and 14 for his 14th double-double performance of the tourney.
SMB enjoyed a lead as high as 26, 84-58, following CJ Perez’s bucket with 42 seconds left in the third canto. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for them as the Tropang Giga tried to come back in the final minutes.
Chot Reyes’ wards appeared to give the Beermen a dose of their own medicine by chopping the deficit to just 10 points, 98-88, following Roger Pogoy’s perfect trip to the foul line with 2:44 remaining.
That, however, would be the closest that TNT could ever get as Lassiter buried his fifth triple to put the lead back to 13 with 2:11 left to play.
“We know that this is a do-or-die game for us. Luckily, we had a good start and we’re able to sustain our energy,” said Austria.
Meanwhile, Ryan Reyes led TNT with 16 points and nine rebounds. Fellow veteran Jayson Castro also had 16, while Poy Erram supplied 11.
Troy Rosario produced 10 points, all of which he made in the final period as he spearheaded his side’s fightback that ultimately fell short.
San Miguel 103 – Tautuaa 24, Lassiter 19, Romeo 16, Santos 13, Fajardo 11, Cabagnot 9, Perez 8, Ross 3, Gamalinda 0.
TNT 90 – Castro 16, Reyes 16, Erram 11, Rosario 10, M. Williams 9, Heruela 9, Montalbo 6, Pogoy 6, K. Williams 5, Khobuntin 2, Exciminiano 0, Alejandro 0, Marcelo 0.
Quarterscores: 27-21, 53-38, 86-62, 103-90.