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San Miguel nears PBA semis sweep after tense win over Rain or Shine

DASMARINAS – Rain or Shine made it close again, but nothing changed.

San Miguel still came out on top, and is on the verge of sweeping its way to the PBA Philippine Cup Finals following a 117-107 win for a commanding 3-0 lead in their best-of-7 semis bout, Wednesday night at the Dasmarinas City Arena here.

The Beermen actually squandered an 11-point lead and fell behind by a point in the fourth quarter, but Terrence Romeo and Don Trollano came to save the day through a 6-0 run to give themselves the lead back, 99-94, with 6:18 to go.

Coach Jorge Gallent’s wards would stay in control all the way, with Marcio Lassiter and CJ Perez helping out the duo for the strong finish, leaving their foes a frustrated bunch as they couldn’t seem to figure out the reigning champions.

Now they can think of finishing off their foes in Game 4 on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena, which, if they do, would be the first best-of-7 semis sweep in the league since the 2015 all-Filipino tilt, when SMB beat Talk N Text in four.

“We have to be motivated for Game Four. We really have to bring the energy. We really have to step on the gas … I’m sure Rain or Shine will come out smoking in Game For. We just have to match that,” said Gallent.

A total of seven players finished in double figures in the win, with Marcio Lassiter top-scoring for the crew with 21 points on five triples. Trollano, on the other hand, finished with a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds.

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Romeo made 13 points. Chris Ross (12 points) and Mo Tautua’a (10 points) delivered hugely as well on a night when June Mar Fajardo was far from his usual self and only had 11 points on 14 attempts, but had 11 boards.

“June Mar had his shots. He had open shots, but they just weren’t going in,” said Gallent. “But his effort was there and he has to do a lot of things. He has to score, he has to chase their big men because they were shooting threes.”

The win, however, was marred by a heated moment with Elasto Painters head coach Yeng Guiao at the center. The outspoken mentor screamed at Romeo for hitting a trey in the final seconds, with the game already determined.

It was, indeed, a tough ending for Rain or Shine, who once again witnessed its gallant stand become a mere footnote as the youth-laden crew simply couldn’t match up with the experience that their mighty foes boast of.

Beau Belga finished with 19 points, with all six of his field goals coming from beyond the arc, alongside seven rebounds and five assists with three steals. The trio of Adrian Nocum, Keith Datu, and Jhonard Clarito had 14 each.

Andrei Caracut supplied 13 points and six assists as he finally scored in double figures again after totaling only 14 in their last two games. Santi Santillan delivered 12 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists in the defeat.

The Scores:

San Miguel 117 – Perez 23, Lassiter 21, Trollano 20, Romeo 13, Ross 12, Fajardo 11, Tautuaa 10, Brondial 4, Cruz 3, Enciso 0.

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Rain or Shine 107 – Belga 19, Datu 14, Clarito 14, Nocum 14, Caracut 13, Santillan 12, Mamuyac 6, Asistio 6, Norwood 4, Demusis 3, Ildefonso 2.

Quarterscores: 25-24, 51-47, 91-85, 117-107.

Written By

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

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